I have long been a fan of Sally Cronin’s writing, so it was with great enthusiasm that I read her November 2022 release, Variety is the Spice of Life, whose title is delightfully appropriate for the assembly of poetry and prose that covers a range of topics.
In Ms. Cronin’s author introduction, she states the essence of her book’s intention, “In this latest collection of poetry and short stories I have attempted to capture the beauty and raw power of nature, and the resilience of humans as they face a modern world of change and disruption.” The author does that and more, and the entirety of this book is a breath of fresh air replete with creative nuance.
The book begins with a series of soul-stirring poems—each short, pithy, and inspirational enough to serve as its own existential meditation. In Expeditions we are encouraged to “ignore those who say it’s foolish to try to reach for the stars,” and in Bear Witness, we are asked to consider the plight of the immigrant, “do not look away, bear witness to tragedy, give deepest respect…do not become complacent.” In Lullaby, Ms. Cronin sings the praises of women, by musing on the different voices used to sooth an infant, “but words that mothers sing to babies all around the world loving.”
#17 in Variety is the Spice of Life reads as a first-person essay, in which the author shares her experience with DNA Ancestral testing. Written in unembellished prose, it’s a beautiful, confessional piece that fittingly precedes the Choka, Origins, in which the author muses on her own genetic line that ends with powerful impact. In another treatise on family, Face in the Mirror, culminates in the realization, “I’ve morphed into my mother.”
Rounding out the poems is a series titled, A Snapshot from My Garden, and those of us who have followed the author for years know well of the celebrated setting. Ireland is captured in The Colour of Life, and in The Robin—Size Doesn’t Matter, a red robin is declared “the garden’s emperor.” A life span is metaphorically depicted in Blossom, and the series closes with an individual look at bees, butterflies, doves, and cats.
Ms. Cronin brings her unique voice to eight delightful short stories. Her craft is economic and straight forward, striking an overall tone in a momentum pairing bright language with broad strokes. Her small-town settings are atmospheric and depict character as place, her subjects are humanistic and appeal to animal lovers, nature lovers, and those who applaud a well-deserved sense of cosmic comeuppance.
In The Neighborhood Watch, a cat has the last word. In The Green Hill an elderly couple’s day out in a windswept, coastal region has a sense of the uncanny, and in On the Run, a frozen foods employee living under an assumed identity sees her turbulent past brought to justice.
Variety is the Spice of Life by Sally Cronin is a well-balanced, uplifting collection of poetry and prose both poignant and entertaining. It’s a thoughtful and satisfying book that casts a light on the best of human nature.
Variety is the Spice of Life is available on Kindle!
The Author, Sally Cronin
Sally Cronin is the author of sixteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fifteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities on her blog and across her social media. The Smorgasbord Bookshelf My blog is https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com