Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Dumfries Mary Smith, #Gardens Cynthia Reyes, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie

Welcome to the first of the Cafe Updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first recent review is for the local history book from Mary Smith with photographer Keith Kirk,. The A-Z of Dumfries: Places – People – History.

About the book

“The town of Dumfries, in the south-west of Scotland and known as ‘the Queen of the South’, became a royal burgh in 1186 and grew into an important market town and port in the medieval period. During its often turbulent past, Dumfries played an important role in the Wars of Independence as the starting point of Robert the Bruce’s campaign for the Scottish throne, and later hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army. The poet Robert Burns spent his last years in Dumfries and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the port of Dumfries benefited from trade with the Americas, as well as being a major exporter of tweed. During the Second World War Dumfries was home to the Norwegian army in exile, and although the port has closed today, it is the administrative centre for the Dumfries and Galloway region.

A–Z of Dumfries delves into the history of the town, revealing interesting and significant moments in its story. It highlights well-known landmarks, famous residents and digs beneath the surface to uncover some of the lesser-known facts about Dumfries and its hidden gems. This fascinating A–Z tour of Dumfries’ history is fully illustrated and will appeal to all those with an interest in this popular town in south-west Scotland.”

A recent review for the book

In her latest book Mary Smith, along with fellow writer Keith Kirk, takes the reader on a fascinating and absorbing alphabetical tour of her local town, Dumfries. Situated in the South West of Scotland, people have lived in the area for at least 3,000 years and it has been the home to many including the famous poet Robert Burns. Through the 26 letters of the alphabet, the book explores the places, people and history of Dumfries and it offers incredible insight to a town that I fear is often overlooked.

Some of the entries depict traumatic events as the reader learns about Robert Burns’ wife Jean Armour, who had nine children but only three survived her. Superb details and plenty of colour photographs ensured that I was hooked by the various entries and I immediately felt as if I had myself visited amongst other places Robert Burns museum and the world’s oldest working Camera Obscura.

I am astounded by the level of research and the momentous task of collecting all the information, collating and writing the book. It is presented in a skilled yet easily accessible and entertaining manner, ensuring the reader is captivated by both the larger historical events and people as well as ordinary objects such as fountains and parks, all surprisingly with their own unique story.

As I finished the book I felt as if I’d travelled around Dumfries and seen its gems for myself … and I hope to do so in the future. I will be a highly informed visitor as a result of this book! Meanwhile, it has made me intrigued about my town, which I know I take for granted and I am now eager to learn more about it!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

and : Amazon US

Selection of other books by Mary Smith

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Mary: Goodreads

Connect to Mary: Mary Smith’s Place

And the next author today a recent review for Cynthia Reyes, and her gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Nostalgia, like laughter, is infectious. Both add to our well-being when we are most in need.

The nostalgia evoked by the exquisite memories and photographs in Twigs in my Hair is a celebration of past experiences so significant that they are still very much part of the author’s most intimate present. Her reflections on the triumphs and beauty of past gardens provide writer and reader with a well-spring of positive and life-affirming feelings.

While gardens provide the occasion for these recollections, the stories that Cynthia Reyes tells are steeped in profound and respectful relationships — relationships with mothers and husbands, her own and others’ children, close friends and considerate neighbours — and in cherished life events such as forging a career, courtship and marriage, and motherhood and professional responsibilities that span several decades.

The author has much to cherish from her growing up in the Caribbean to her several noteworthy and rewarding careers. All these and more are cherished within the warm memories of gardens.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Also by Cynthia Reyes

And co-written with Lauren Reyes-Grange – Illustrated by Jo Robinson

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia : Goodreads

Connect to Cynthia via her website: Cynthia Reyes

And the final author today is Jessica Norrie with a recent review for The Magic Carpet.

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. At the start I wondered if I could keep all the families – who are largely introduced by chapter – in my head but it soon became clear that the author had thought of this and structured accordingly. I know little about modern teaching or the age group covered but I learnt about both simply through the story and the nuances that allowed me time to do this . Written in ” Brexit times ” it nods to immigration concerns and political climate but only nods. A good idea. With a satisfying ending which I knew I was heading for but no idea how it would be . An easy and engaging read I’d say, from someone who clearly wishes to put her years of teaching into magical words

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

Find more reviews : Goodreads

Connect to Jessica via her website:Jessica Norrie on WordPress

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. Sally.

19 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Dumfries Mary Smith, #Gardens Cynthia Reyes, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie

  1. Thanks so much, Sally. It’s a fabulous review from Annika and I am delighted it is being shared. I’m in good company, too. I thoroughly enjoyed The Magic Carpet and Twigs In My Hair sounds like a lovely book, which I’ll check out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone with Scottish parents, a love of gardening now made difficult through health problems and a background in teaching and I can honestly say that all three of these books hold a huge appeal for me! Congratulations to all three of you on some wonderful reviews. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 2nd – 8th February 2020 – Jazz, Italian Valentines appetizer, Guests, Books, Reviews and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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