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The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Volume 1 (Secrets of Marienstadt) by [Valentine, Kathleen]
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The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Volume 1 (Secrets of Marienstadt) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Length: 156 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

          This an not just an entertaining collection of stories about a fabulously rich culture. Valentine is MEMORIALIZING her people, and her town. This becomes more than just a novel, but also a fascinating and educational look at a region and culture relatively unsung in American literature. THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL, VOL. I: SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, promises that the entire collection will be more than just a slice of small-town America. It will be a tribute to a people and a place, the Pennsylvania Dutch, and their contributions to American history. With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. We are offered history as well as comedy and tragedy.
          With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. We are offered history as well as comedy and tragedy. So, please read these stories slowly, then read them again, because while we are reading about life, love, and birth and death, we are also learning the rich culture and traditions of one of the most fascinating communities in our United States.  I predict the entire collection of THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL... will become a classic. I can't wait for Volume II! Thank you, Kathleen Valentine. -  Kiana Davenport, author of Shark Dialogues and The Spy Lover

From the Back Cover

From "Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow":
Henry Werner knew that being the Chief of Police in Marienstadt, Pennsylvania, was an easy job but any day that started out with a visit from Sister Adelaide, the Prioress of St. Joseph's Convent, and which was followed by a call from the State Police, was off to an unpromising start. Despite the fact that he was close to forty and had been a policeman ever since he left the Marines, one withering stare from Sister Adelaide could reduce him to a single throbbing nerve. The worst part was, she knew it.

"Henry," she said, looking at him over the top of the half-moon glasses perched on her long, patrician nose, "is it really necessary to ticket the convent's automobiles at every single opportunity? I understand that the sisters need to be more mindful of making sure there is adequate money in the parking meters but, honestly, the time had barely run out when Patrolman Ginther wrote this out." She waved the bright orange ticket in front of him.

"Give it to me, Sister," he said. "I'll take care of it." He knew that by 'taking care of it' he meant that he would pay for it himself but he preferred that she not know that.


From "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall":

Titus had grown up hearing stories about Grampa Jubal. Grampa Jubal, the man of iron who worked on the railroad laying track with John Henry-like strength and speed. Grampa Jubal, who worked in the logging camps and, with axe or crosscut saw, could fell a tree faster and more accurately than Paul Bunyan himself. Grampa Jubal, who could climb a three-story ladder carrying a bale of shingles on his back, even at the age of sixty. Grampa Jubal, sire to nine children, thirty-six grandchildren, and the founder of one of the most successful construction companies in north central Pennsylvania.

Grampa Jubal, Titus thought, the lying, no good, deadbeat husband and father who abandoned his first family, leaving them to waste away from hunger and disease while he went off to see what adventures he could find. Titus hated Grandpa Jubal for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that, though he had died before Titus was even born, he refused to stay dead.



From "The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition":
"Well, as you may know this is the one hundredth anniversary of the re-building of St. Walburga's Church after the first one burnt down and I have a little project in mind that I thought you might consider participating in," Father Nick said.

Mulligan pushed his cap back and smiled. "Sure, Padre, anything I can do."

Father Nick groaned inwardly but reminded himself that nicknames were a sign of affection and blundered on. "What I would like to do is put together a book of recipes from all the fine cooks here in Marienstadt. Well," he hesitated, "that was my original plan but..."

Mulligan flashed a wicked grin. "...but the fine ladies of Marienstadt aren't about to part with their precious recipes."


Father Nick stared at him. "How did you know?"

"Hey, I've lived here most of my life. I know these gals." He took a huge swallow of beer. "Nothin ever changes. Let me tell you something, when I started my business here my own mother was scared silly I'd give away some of her recipes by using them for my stuff. I told her to keep her damn recipes. I invented my own."

"Your mother is Kuni Wolfe?"

"Yeah, sweet old Kunigunda, mother of a beer salesman, a nun, and a pig farmer. She's so thrilled." He chuckled, drained his beer and turned sideways in his chair to pour himself another.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1742 KB
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Parlez-Moi Press (November 23, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 23, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008M7VWZA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,900 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's no wonder that "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall" was named Best Short Story in the 2013 eFestival of Words. It's just one of three unforgettable tales by Kathleen Valentine that make up THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL: Vol. 1 - SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, and it's the first book of her three-volume novel in eleven consecutive stories.

In the introduction to this book, Valentine reveals that she grew up in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania, "surrounded by storytellers." She obviously inherited that talent. Although the town in her stories is fictional, Valentine's knowledge of the rural setting and its culture, as well as her love of the region, are obvious in every word she has written. Told with wit and warmth, author Kathleen Valentine shares the secrets of Marienstadt's residents. Though they have their quirks, Valentine's characters are believable. My favorite is the town's hero and stabilizing force, Chief of Police Henry Werner, though I also enjoyed getting to know Sister Ursula, the snowplow operator, and Mulligan Wolfe, the owner of Stooges Pigs & Kraut and an accomplished dancer. Valentine knows each one well.

If the name of the title story doesn't grab you, then the others from Volume 1 surely will: "Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow" and "The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition." Who could read those titles and not want to know what the stories are about? All three volumes in the series are also available in one omnibus edition.

It's been a while since I read a collection of short stories, and Kathleen Valentine has made me wonder why I've waited so long!
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I think the passion that Kathleen puts into her books and characters stems from the wonderful upbringing in this area of central Pennsylvania. I share that same beginning. The first book I read by this author was "The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood". While growing up in a German family, we were all aware of the tradition of Belsnickel and some even carry this to their extended family. Now we can be sure that others will know about this through some great writing! As I read through the pages, this entire book made me smile! Thank you and I am now a follower of Kathleen Valentine's new book "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Volume 1 (Secrets of Marienstadt)". Keep them coming and thank you for the memories.
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An enjoyable read due to exceptionally descriptive writing and very interesting characters set in a rural village. Each character includes their backstory so you come to know them well. How and why they interact is an enjoyable visit through sad, glad, romance, or the other events that happen in life.
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This is a fun-to-read book as many of Katherine Valentine novels are. I end wishing I lived in the towns she writes about and knowing the people therein. her stories leave me feeling good. I laugh, sometimes I cry. One thing is they are never boring. I recommend them to a dear friend who agrees with me too. You feel good that you read her book. How many authors have this effect?
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After reading the story that prompted Kathleen to write a series of stories about Marienstadt (The Reluctant Belsnickel,) I just couldn't wait to see what would develop with all the wonderful characters. The wait, thankfully, is over. At least the wait for Volume 1 is over. These stories and characters warm your heart. Kathleen's style of writing these wonderful short stories is light-hearted and just plain fun. The characters are the kind of people you wish you knew in real life. The businesses come to life along with their proprietors and customers. I've waited some time to read these stories and was not disappointed. I am now anxiously waiting the next installments. If you love quirky characters, and like it when the good guy wins, or when good triumphs over evil, you'll love these stories. Once again, Kathleen delivered in wonderful form.
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This is a very quick read. But a very well-written quick read. The characters and location are endearing, it made me wish I lived there. I don't usually give 5-star reviews, but this totally deserved it. My only wish is that it was longer.
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I love Kathleen's books - I grew up in St. Marys and loved seeing some of the stories I grew up "published". Kathleen's tales took me back to my youth and opened the doors to long forgotten memories. Her use of our hometown and familial names spun a web I was happily caught up in. I am looking forward to the next installments.
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I absolutely enjoyed The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Volume 1 and can't wait for volumes 2 and 3 to come out. Having been born and raised in St. Marys, everything was so familiar and even though I left there a long time ago, it was as if I was home again. Kathleen is a great writer and I'm looking forward to more of her stories to transport me back to where I feel I belong.
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