Olive Stuffed Eggs for A Frenzy of Sparks (a TLC Tour Stop)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday whether it was masked or socially distanced. 

Today’s stop on the TLC Book Tour is A Frenzy of Sparks  by Kristen Fields.  Please read on for the publisher’s blurb, “About the Author,” my review and a recipe inspired-by.

About the book:

From the author of A Lily in the Light comes a poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.

It’s 1965, and thirteen-year-old Gia, along with her older brother and cousins, are desperate to escape their sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood where nothing ever happens. The only thing Gia would miss is the surrounding marsh, where she feels at home among sea birds and salt water.

But when one of Gia’s cousins brings drugs into their neighborhood, it sets off a chain of events that quickly turn dangerous. Everyone will be caught in the ripples, and some may be swept away entirely. Gia is determined to keep herself and her family afloat while the world is turned upside down around her. Can she find a way to hold on to the life she was so eager to leave behind, or will she have to watch it all disappear beneath the marsh forever?

At turns heart-wrenching and hopeful, A Frenzy of Sparks explores a world where survival is the attempt to move forward while leaving pieces of your heart behind.

“A deeply atmospheric novel that will have you turning the pages deep into the night, A Frenzy of Sparks is your next must-read.” —Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Hidden and I’ll Never Tell

“A provocative coming-of-age in 1960s Queens. Heart-wrenching and moving, A Frenzy of Sparks boldly reveals families in crisis, brought together and torn apart. Brava Kristin Fields on a lyrical, luminous tale that sticks with the reader long after the last page.” —Rochelle Weinstein, bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends

A Frenzy of Sparks tells the heartbreaking truth about how quickly addiction can destroy a family and a community. Fields has a beautiful ability to shape words such that the ordinary becomes extraordinary.” —Kaela Coble, author of Friends and Other Liars

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Kristin

Website | Facebook | Twitter |Instagram

About the author:

Kristin Fields grew up in Queens, which she likes to think of as a small town next to a big city. Fields studied writing at Hofstra University, where she received the Eugene Schneider Fiction Award. After college, Fields found herself working on a historic farm, teaching high school English, and designing museum education programs. She is currently leading an initiative to bring gardens to public schools in New York City, where she lives with her husband.

What I thought…

This is a serious novel about a serious subject.   It’s a little surreal at times.  I hate to call this a coming of age novel because of the mood, but Gia does literally grow up in front of our eyes.   As the publisher’s blurb sets out, the book is initially set in 1965.  Gia is thirteen and might seem a bit immature, but thirteen in 1965 was much different from thirteen today.  She’s right on the cusp of her formative teen years as we first meet her during the summer before 8th grade.

Let me just take a moment here… Do you remember that time in your life?  The awkwardness?  Wanting to be treated as an adult but still doing totally kid things and making totally kid mistakes?  Gia is the youngest of an extended family of cousins.  She looks up to them, idolizes some and wants to please and fit in.

I could relate to Gia a great deal (even though I grew up in the 80s and not the 60s).   I remember that time well and Fields’ words brought back that thirteen-year-old haze, that angst and innocence, that fear and hope.    As Gia ages and the stable innocent environment is shattered, she tries to hold on and protect those she loves:  “It was exhausting to be alert all the time” (145).

The point-of-view of the novel is definitely Gia’s  but I thought it was odd that her parents are referred to as Agnes and Eddie throughout, not mom and dad (even though it’s omniscient).  Not really sure what to make of that, I just thought it was interesting.

As the novel progressed (as did the drama), Fields comes into her own.  The final chapters had some of the best images and conveyed the emotion well.  The description of Gia’s room (as she tries to escape a family tragedy) is one example:

Her poster of the World’s Fair Unisphere in all its metallic glory was a big middle finger to those petite wallpaper flowers. (244)

As she destroys those petite flowers by peeling the wallpaper off in strips, “The whole room looked like a sick lung” (245).

Although I may have made this sound like a depressing tale of a family’s demise, there is hope.   Life goes on.

The food:

If you stop by EE often, you know that my book reviews are always accompanied by a food item, something mentioned or inspired by the book.  I have to tell you I struggled with this one.  Don’t misunderstand; there’s quite a bit of food in the novel.  Gia comes from an Italian family after all.

I thought I might be inspired by one of the most poignant passages as Gia questions the tragedy:

He couldn’t be gone….When he was in Florida with palm trees and the ocean.  Cuban sandwiches.  Orange groves.  Days of endless summer.  Baskets of hush puppies and fat slices of key lime pie and flowers bigger than human heads. (240)

And again, there was a huge amount of homemade Italian food from the start:  Amaretto cookies, biscotti, eggplant parm, penne alla vodka, stuffed shells, lasagna, prosciutto wrapped sesame sticks, linguine with clam sauce, meatballs, manicotti, and ravioli.  I almost went with one of these delicious recipes.

In the end, I was inspired to make deviled eggs, a simple recipe but one that emphasizes Gia’s teenage awkwardness and marks her innocence before life happened to her.  At a “normal” family function in the opening of the novel while Gia is preoccupied by the eating of live clams, she misses a step and splatters a platter of homemade deviled eggs onto her Sunday dress.  Embarrassed, she runs to the water where she feels the most calm and safe.

I pulled this recipe from a 1964 cookbook, The Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes.

Vintage 1964 cookbook.

Deviled Eggs with Olives

Based on “Eggs Stuffed with Chopped Olives” from The Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes

This recipe is based on one from the “Luncheons, Cocktails, Eleven-Thirty Supper.”


  • water
  • 1 T. white vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 T. chopped olives, chopped fine (plus more sliced for garnish)
  • fresh ground pepper


  1. Fill a small sauce pan with water and 1 T. vinegar and bring to a boil. While waiting on water to boil, prepare an ice bath in a bowl with half ice and half water. When water is boiling, gently add eggs with a slotted spoon. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Transfer eggs to ice bath for 5-10 minutes to cool. Then, peel eggs.
  2. Slice the shelled eggs in quarters, lengthwise. Remove the yolks. Mash and mix with the mayonnaise.
  3. Mix in olives. Fill the egg quarters. Top with a slice of olive if desired.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 2

Prep Time: 10 mins.

Cook time: 15 mins.

Total time: 25 mins.

To make enough for a crowd, use 10 eggs, 1/4 c. mayonnaise, and 1/2 c. olives (yield 40 pieces).  And, if you want other retro appetizer ideas for the holidays:

This was a simple and delicious recipe and I have never quartered deviled eggs before.


I liked the presentation.


Please check out the other reviews below.

Review tour:

Monday, November 2nd: @shobizreads

Tuesday, November 3rd: The OC Book Girl and @theocbookgirl

Wednesday, November 4th: @booksloveandunderstanding

Thursday, November 5th: @compulsivereadersblog

Friday, November 6th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm and @pnwbookworm

Friday, November 6th: 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, November 9th: Mom Loves Reading and @mom_loves_reading

Tuesday, November 10th: Bookchickdi

Wednesday, November 11th: What is That Book About – author guest post

Thursday, November 12th: Books with Jams and @bookswithjams

Friday, November 13th: Leighellen Landskov and @mommaleighellensbooknook

Monday, November 16th: Books & Bindings

Tuesday, November 17th: Cindy Reads and Writes – review and author Q&A

Wednesday, November 18th: @readtowander

Thursday, November 19th: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie

Monday, November 23rd: Girl Who Reads

Monday, November 23rd: @readinggirlreviews

Monday, November 30th: Eliot’s Eats

Instagram tour:

Monday, November 16th: @thebookend.diner

Monday, November 16th: @readwithmason

Tuesday, November 17th: @readswithrosie

Wednesday, November 18th: @everlasting.charm

Thursday, November 19th: @the_unwined

Friday, November 20th: @katieneedsabiggerbookshelf

Saturday, November 21st: @readingwithmegan

Sunday, November 22nd: @bluntscissorsbookreviews

Monday, November 23rd: @girlsinbooks

Monday, November 23rd: @amanda.the.bookish

Tuesday, November 24th: @booktimistic

Wednesday, November 25th: @thebookishglow

Friday, November 27th: @readwithjamie


I’m linking up with Foodies Read.



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