Posted in fiction, Historical, Spotlight on January 11, 2015


 Boardinghouse Stew

by E.E. Smith


“Times like these are about as unpredictable as boardinghouse stew!” observes Teddy, one of the six boarders in Mrs. Mumson’s seedy, down-at-the-heel boardinghouse in Sacramento. It was certainly an apt description of the early days of World War II when no one knew what was going to happen.

In June of 1943, due to an acute labor shortage caused by the evacuation of all Japanese from the area, as well as many domestic workers preferring war work to house work, Mrs. Mumson is forced to hire a young school girl named Eileen as a maid and cook for the summer. Through one crisis after another – some more comic than tragid – the people who live in the house manage to pull together and become a kind of family. In the center of it all is Eileen, narrating their stories which she is able to observe from her unique vantage point behind the swinging kitchen door that never quite closes on its rusty hinges.

“An enchanting and delightful debut…Author E.E. Smith skillfully delivers a nostalgic recollection of enlightened and inspiring relationships during one of our nation’s darker times.”

– Global News, Booknotes


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About the Author

eesmithE.E. (Evelyn Eileen) Smith first attended the University of Iowa, and later received a B.A. in Fine Arts from California State University Long Beach.
Known earlier as a playwright, her works include PLAYTIME IN LONDON; BOARDINGHOUSE STEW; WARTIME RECIPES; THE TEMPERATE ZONE (based on Edith Wharton’s short story); GHOST WRITERS (based on two stories by Wharton and Henry James); RUNAWAY TRAINS; A FLAG FOR MARIA; PRIVATE LIES (a spoof on the play by Noel Coward); REVELATIONS, A GAME FOR THREE OR MORE COUPLES; three one-act plays, together titled RYAN’S REUNION, and a collection of ten-minute comedies together titled THE BRITISH ARE COMING.

Her plays have been performed in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and both northern and southern California. One play has been published.

Writing credits include a Drama Award from FS Theatrebooks, New York, (for BOARDINGHOUSE STEW); awards from Writers Digest (for PRIVATE LIES and PLAYTIME IN LONDON); and the Gem Award from Jewel Box Theatre,   Oklahoma City (for WARTIME RECIPES).

E.E. Smith lives close to her native San Francisco where, after many years as a playwright, she now writes books and short stories instead of plays. One story was published in Writers’ Forum: Britain’s Best Magazine for Writers, in 2006. The play, WARTIME RECIPES, first performed in Oklahoma City in 1998, was reprised there in 2010. Her first novel, BOARDINGHOUSE STEW, was published in 2009, and the New Edition published in 2011. The second novel, TIMES LIKE THESE, was also published in 2011, and IN LOVE AND WAR, a memoir, was published in 2012. She is now writing a murder mystery series.

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