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Faeries, Farms and Folk: A family saga set in the 1600s, 1700s and early 1800s at a time when witchcraft and the kirk were powerful forces in the lives of the people of Scotland Paperback – November 16, 2014
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About the Author
Carmel McMurdo Audsley is an Australian Journalist, Editor and Author who lives in Brisbane with her husband Iain. They both had Scottish fathers, share a mutual love of Scotland and have walked in the footsteps of their ancestors in the country that they love to visit. As a Newspaper Journalist and Magazine Editor, Carmel has written, and had published, thousands of news stories and feature articles and has now turned her research and writing skills to digging up the past and breathing life into the characters she finds. Her first historical fiction novel, 'Ours, Yours and Mines', about the mining families of Ayrshire Scotland, was published in 2012 and captured the hearts of readers as the story unfolded about the harsh living conditions in the mid-1800s and the sad loss of life. 'Far Across The Sea' continued the story with a young man from Scotland travelling to the sunny shores of Australia. Carmel’s third book, 'Faeries, Farms and Folk', details the lives of farming folk in the south-west of Scotland who were uprooted from their ancestral homes at the time of the industrial revolution. The books are all based on Carmel’s family history. She now devotes all her writing and editing time to producing Scots News Magazine for ex-pat Scots in Australia, and researching and writing historical fiction.
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As they were in that year land workers, the author gives us a very good inview in the daily life of the Mc Murdo’s who lived in a cottage at the farmersland. What it meant to live in that time, how they live and work and sleep, what they eat… But the industrial revolution will change the life this family lived from generation to generation. They have to leave the land and go down in the dark, unhealthy mines. Half the ’80-’s some of the Mc Murdo’s are leaving Scotland to go farming again in Canada and Australia.
What I found an extra, a plus, was the use of Scottish words. Reading the book I heard them talking to each other in this beautiful Scottish accent.
Beside the family story, with all ups and downs (though the Mc Murdo’s seemed to take every down as a challenge, and act on a positive way) Carmel Audsley also makes us to stand still and think about society at the moment in the Mc Murdo’s life. The book starts with the church tribunal and the burning of 9 witches. I learned here that in Scotland, at least the women who were told to be witches, were strangled before setting them in fire. This in contrast with the rest of Europe where they were l literally burned to death.
Some 100 years later, we witness how co landworkers of the family got possessed with this awful idea that Graine, a woman who lived on herself and was different than the rest, that she must be a witch and caused all their misery. And in their rage they burned Graine and her house in ashes. I was shocked to read this story, because it threw me back to what is happening in this very moment in the Europe, in the U.S.A., and in fact in the whole world. It seems to be from all times that people need a black sheep, so they can feel better and more safe. Will we ever learn from history? Even this book was probably meant for entertainment, it learns us about how it was to live in history, but it also confront us, makes us reflect on what witches hunt was then, and what this is now.
Sometimes the book is repeating, but for all the above reasons I very much recommend to give this book a read!