Faeries, Farms and Folk-A Family Sage by Carmel McMurdo Audsley

faeries-farms-and-folk-a-family-sage-by-carmel-mcmurdo-audsleyFaeries, Farms and Folk-A Family Sage by Carmel McMurdo Audsley

Many people with Scottish ancestry will find Agricultural Labourers among their forebears, because so many people in Scotland prior to the industrial revolution were engaged in working the land in one form or another. It was a time of political upheaval, of strong influence in people’s lives by the Church of Scotland and of superstition.
In the 17th century in the lowlands of Scotland, farmers were still essentially serfs who were given a plot of land to build a basic cottage and tend a few crops and in return were expected to labour and go to war for the landowners. In the 18th century most people stilled lived in the countryside and made their living farming. Few, however, would have owned their properties but instead did seasonal work in return for a meagre pay and a roof over their heads. Though often regarded as just cheap labour, the Agricultural Labourers had a wealth of knowledge about the seasons and their effects on growing crops and about caring for the land, and worked their landlords’ fields with experienced minds and hands.

Their wives usually worked as Farm Servants in and around the farmhouse so the landlords got two workers for the price of one, or more as the children were put to work as well. By the mid-19th century and the mechanisation that the industrial revolution brought to Britain, many people had moved to towns and made their living from mining or manufacturing industries.

Belief in witchcraft and faeries was commonplace and people who were believed to have ‘the gift’ – the ability to see into the future – were feared and ostracised.

The first chapter of Faeries, Farms and Folk details events that took place in Dumfries in the south-west of Scotland in 1659, when the social disease of witch hunting was at its peak. The names of the accused are the real names of the people involved. Witchcraft was part of the belief system at the time, and devils, good and bad faeries, and other supernatural beings were very real to everyone.

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Finding Mother: A Family Drama (The Guernsey Novels Book 2) by Anne Allen

Prepare to be swept away by a heart-warming tale of family relationships and love

Three women. Three generations. Sacrifices for love…

Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she searches for her real mother; the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, she sets out from England: travelling to Spain, Jersey and Guernsey before the extraordinary story of her real family is finally revealed.

Nicole becomes an unwitting catalyst for change in the family. Two women are forced to reveal long-buried secrets. One going back as far as the Second World War. Lives are transformed as choices have to be made and the past laid to rest…

This contemporary romantic drama is the second of The Guernsey Novels, a series of stand-alone books by the award-winning author Anne Allen. It is likely to appeal to lovers of the works of Joanna Trollope and Maeve Binchy.

** Voted Runner-Up in Family Drama 2013 in the SpaSpa Awards **

REVIEW

“A sensitive, heart-felt novel about family relationships, identity, adoption, second chances at love… With romance, weddings, boat trips, lovely gardens and more, Finding Mother is a dazzle of a book, a perfect holiday read.” Lindsay Townsend, author of The Snow Bride

“I first encountered Anne Allen when I read Dangerous Waters: Mystery, Loss and Love on the Island of Guernsey and if you’ve read that book you’ll notice a glancing reference to Jeanne, the heroine, in Finding Mother. I felt nicely grounded! In much the same way that Allen wormed Jeanne into my heart I really found that I cared for Nicole and willing her on to make the right decisions and a success of her life. Allen has a real talent for her female characters. The men don’t come off the page quite as well, but that’s a minor quibble.

Tracing a birth parent when you’ve been adopted is a sensitive subject and Allen handles it well, recognising the insecurities of the adopting parents who wonder if they’re going to be supplanted and the worries of the mother who gave up the child soon after her birth. Will she be judged for her relationship with the child’s father and for the fact that she made no attempt to bring the child up herself? There’s an added complication here in that Nicole will also find out about her birth father – giving her more parents than any girl should decently want! It’s neatly, elegantly done and the story is a real page turner.” The Bookbag

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