Welcome to the second of the weekly updates for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.
The first author today with a recent review is Mary Smith for her non-fiction book Secret Dumfries.
About the book
Dumfries, in south-west Scotland, has a long history, much of it well recorded. However, as with most places there are more than a few secrets hidden away. First referred to as the Queen of the South by a local poet, David Dunbar in 1857, the name stuck and was later adopted by the local football team. Not many know this makes it the only football team in the world mentioned in the Bible. Darker aspects of the town s history include the burning of nine witches on the Whitesands in 1659 and the last public hanging of a woman in Scotland, Mary Timney, was held in Dumfries in 1862. There are tales of plague victims being exiled to Scabbit Isle, of murderers and grave robbers. Not all its secrets are so dark: there s Patrick Miller and his introduction of turnips courtesy of King Gustav III of Sweden, and the exiled Norwegian Army making its home in Dumfries during the Second World War. And what is the significance of the finials depicting telescopes and anchors on the railings along the Whitesands?
Local author Mary Smith, and photographer Keith Kirk, take the reader on a fascinating journey through the town’s past, unearthing tales of intrigue and grisly goings-on as they provide a fascinating glimpse into some of the lesser known aspects of the town’s history.
A recent review of the book
Secret Dumfries is a non-fiction book depicting the fascinating history of Dumfries, a small town situated on the River Nith in Scotland. Dumfries is also known as the “Queen of the South”, a name bestowed on the town by local poet David Dunbar.
The book is divided into ten chapters each dealing with different aspects of the town, its inhabitants and its history.
Chapter 1: History provides a lot of background to the development and establishment of the town. One particularly interesting historical event was the stabbing of “The Red” Comyn by Robert the Bruce which changed the course of Scottish history.
Chapter 2 deals with Crime and Punishment and one of the titbits of information disclosed in this chapter is that in sixteenth-century Dumfries, anyone caught stealing his neighbour’s peat was branded on the cheek with the towns clock key, heated in a fire made of the stolen peats.
Chapter 3: Health, shares facts and information about the history of disease and illness in the town including outbreaks of the plague, famine and cholera.
Chapter 4 entitled Industrial Dumfries tells the stories about the development of industry in Dumfries. One of the industries discussed is the quarrying for sandstone at Locharbriggs Quarry. This sandstone is a lovely pink to red colour and is clearly detectable as the building material for most of the historical buildings in the town.
Chapter 5 deals with Wartime Dumfries and tells of the backgrounds of famous Doonhammers during times of warfare, including Joseph Brown who fought in the Crimea War and the Indian Mutiny.
Chapter 6: Outdoor Art Gallery describes the lovely outdoor artworks found throughout the town including a collection of unusual finials on the railings along the Whitesands beside the Nith. There are thirty-eight of these finials which were created by Natalie Vardey and designed to link to past and present trades in Dumfries.
Chapter 7: Remarable Doonhammers includes details on a number of interesting residents of the town, the most renown being Robert Burns and his wife, Jean Armour. Interestingly enough, the book discloses that Robert Burns body was dug up twice before it was finally laid to rest in its current mausoleum.
Chapter 8 advises visitors to remember to look up and provides information on all the artworks and historical artifacts above eye level including some facts about the fire marks on selected buildings.
Chapter 9: Recreation provides the history of, inter alia, the Dumfries football team, the name of which is Queen of the South. It also tells of the history of the Dumfries cinemas and even the circus.
Chapter 10: Curiosities, Mysteries and a Sad Story ends with a poignant tale about Tinker, or Derek Styles, a promising young man who was psychologically ruined by the horrors he witnessed during the battle for Goose green in May 1982.
Secret Dumfries is a well written and interesting non-fiction book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Scottish history.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Dumfries-Mary-Smith-ebook/dp/B07DWXHGTF
A selection of other books by Mary Smith
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0
And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0
Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Connect to Mary via her blog: https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/
The next author with a recent review is Bette A. Stevens for her poetry collection My Maine.
About My Maine
Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.
The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.
One of the recent reviews for the book
My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by Bette Stevens is an exhilarating journey through the seasons, brilliantly defined in the form of haiku, each one a vivid treat for lovers of nature. Bette takes us along as she walks through the breathtaking woods and vales of The Pine State. Here, spring emerges from ‘wintery boughs,’ breaking their stony silence, as birds, bees and butterflies return to lend a riotous glimmer to the landscape. We watch in delight as mother earth divests her icy mantle, blossoms smile in harmony with the clouds as they roll in to add their sparkle to them. The shimmer brightens with the rich imagery of the poet. Awestruck, I walk further to explore more of Maine!
Summer sounds come alive in these haiku and I could almost see and hear the revelry that mingles with the ‘red, white and blue hues’ – craft fairs, festivals, dinners and timeless tales evoked by ‘crispy, crunchy leaves’ are retold by Stevens in a succinct manner. Life comes full circle as ‘icy crystal robes’ return, ‘lilacs stand naked’ and the poet is enchanted by white confetti falling on white pines! Bette’s style is so captivating that one reading of this book is not enough. I have read it twice but would keep returning to this book to savor the charm that flows through it. My favorite picture is the one with a clear rainbow heralding spring. A must read!
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SSNDL5L
Also by Bette A. Stevens
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M
and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M
Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens
Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog: https://4writersandreaders.com
And the final author today with a recent review is Stevie Turner for Finding David.
About Finding David
When Karen and Mick Curtis attend a demonstration of clairvoyance for the first time, Karen is singled out by the medium, Rae Cordelle. Rae has a message from Karen’s son David, who passed over to the spirit world many years before. The message shocks Karen and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking her previously happy relationship with second husband Mick, David’s stepfather.
One of the recent reviews for the book
People go missing all the time; when a child goes missing it’s every parent’s nightmare and never knowing what happened can perhaps be worse. The author turns the usual missing person story on its head. Would you talk to a psychic, would you trust them? Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, would you take the chance of ignoring a loved one trying to contact you from the other side? We are soon swept along and the reader is not sure who to trust, nor is David’s mother Karen as her marriage is threatened
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07RLZF1JW
And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RLZF1JW
A selection of books by Stevie Turner
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU
Follow Stevie Turner on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner
Connect to Stevie Turner via her website: http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm. Sally