The Bachelor Brothers' Bed &; Breakfast is a rustic retreat on one of British Columbia's beautiful Gulf Islands. Its owners are the endearingly eccentric Hector and Virgil, twins by birth, though not by nature. Their B&;B attracts a particular and sometimes peculiar clientele of slightly confused and gentle bookish people. Bachelor Brothers' Bed &; Breakfast relates the many stories of the comings and goings and doings at the guest house in Hector and Virgil's own words, including the romantic, improbable and even shocking story of how their mother came to conceive them. They reveal the origin of their large library in tales of boxes of books mysteriously arriving throughout their youth, offerings from their travelling salesman father, unknown to them in any other fashion. They detail how the forces of circumstance, in the form of their motley inheritances - a big house on a small island, an enormous library, an aged parrot given to profanity and channeling, and a dozen musical eggcups - led to but one conclusion: opening a guest home. In addition to these remembrances of things past are more recent misadventures, by turns moving and hilarious. Also included are excerpts from their visitors' book, Brief Lives, in which their guests describe the mysterious paths that led them to this haven of old-world charm that time has thankfully passed by.
Bed and Breakfast. It lies in a valley in a secret spot. The brothers are twins named Virgil and Hector.
They were born to a single mother who sounds rather Katharine Hepburn-ish. She had a way with automobiles
and was very competent and quite happy being single. She has sadly passed, but left behind the
now fifty something brothers, a cat named Waffle and Mrs Rochester the parrot. Both of whom made
their way to the B&B on their own, when it was just a home.
There are brief descriptions of life at the B&B by each of the brothers, but also contributions by
some of their guests. Entertaining, amusing and poignant these tales, and absorbing, each and every one.
The place itself could not be what it is without contributions from the group of locals who are equally as entertaining and many of whom are characters in their own rights. For instance the women who run the
Rubyfruit Jungle auto repair business, where they get a great deal of help from the deceased uncle of one
of the women . She channels him as needed, and sometimes uses a Ouija board to contact less familiar
This is a keeper for me, and will be for you, as soon as you manage to acquire a copy, which I hope for your sake, will happen soon.
Part of the charm of the book lies in its whimsical structure. Hector and Virgil (named not after the classics but after twin bulls born locally on the same day) each 'write' their own sections of their story, and their narrative is interspersed with testimonies from guests at their B&B, recipes and book and author lists. The brothers share stories of their eccentric mother, thoughts on their opinionated parrot Mrs Rochester and mouse-killing cat Waffle, and musings on love, life and books. Each guest has their own tale to tell, perhaps of how they came to visit the B&B, or about their love for a particular author. There's even a little poetry from the so-bad-he's-good local poet.
I'm not sure I'd read it again, and it lost a star for a couple of slightly less sparkling sections and the way the bookish side of things slipped away a little towards the end, but this was still a thoroughly enjoyable novel. It is original, very amusing, full of charming characters and astute observations, and is a perfect book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Enjoy!
This book is written in such a way as to make this B&B seem as if it were a real place. In fact, a friend of mine who read this book wanted to know where the B&B was and didn’t believe the place was fictitious! Since it really doesn’t exist, I'll just have to be content with Bill Richardson’s funny story, the muffin recipe, the poetry by Solomon Solomon and quite a few noteworthy quotes that I had stop and write down in the midst of reading this book. Here is just the kind of quick and enjoyable read that’s great to pass along to friends who are in need of light and thoroughly enjoyable entertainment.
There is a resident cat Waffles, whose naming story begins the telling of the tales. There is an articulate swearing parrot in residence named Mrs. Rochester, whose appearances throughout the book add just the right touch of colorful zest. The brothers themselves, Hector and Virgil, give us their birth history (including their conception under the oil pan of a truck), and a portrait of their unmarried (and never married) mother who raised them with a love of books that has never left them. The twins give us reading lists of favorites, among them: "Virgil's List of Books
for when you're feeling low" and Hector's "List of Favourite Authors for the Bath."
In the story "Love and Skincare" we meet Altona Winkler, the local Avon lady, newspaper reporter, and novelist wannabe whom Hector describes thus: "...my association with Altona Winkler..has gone on for a long time now. It suits us both.It is relaxed and casual. Comfortable. In one way or another, we tend to each other's needs."
Guests come toting bags of books to be read, or find an appealing volume in the BB's library. Breakfast is served by the brothers every morning, but guests, who are given the run of the kitchen, are responsible for fixing their own lunch and dinner. Lasting friendships are formed, and guests are encouraged to leave their thoughts in the guest book. In between vignettes from Hector and Virgil, we are treated to stories written by various temporary residents, some of whom have been returning for years.
Virgil, who took up playing the bassoon several years ago, shuts himself in a closet to practice under the watchful eyes and ears of Mrs. Rochester. He also can recite from memory hundreds of poems he learned as a child, including the poetry of the town's now long dead reigning poet Solomon Solomon. This talent is especially well regarded since the local newspaper where the poems were published never kept an archives, and old copies don't seem to exist anymore.
Speaking of his poetry reciting prowess Virgil says "I love the phrase learning by heart, especially when it is applied to poetry, because it seems such a perfect description of the process of memorizing words that have been carefully chosen and weighed and handled. The heart, I think, which is the home of all things rhythmic, is where learned poems go to live."
This small easy-to-read tome is easy to love. It gives us literature, poetry, enchanting vignettes of life and makes us want to find this real Shangri-la in the Pacific Northwest. When I find it, I probably won't tell though. I want the whole place to myself.