Tuesday, April 22, 2014


 Nancy Magnuson and I worked together on a slideshow of the Great Wagon Road for the Homecoming at Bush River several years ago.  We discovered that although we did not have Bush River ancestors in common, we did share Coffin ancestors.  Nancy contacted me via e-mail this week to recommend the book Carminow by Elsie Balme.   I have not yet quite figured out the relationship of our mutual Coffin family to this line for myself, but I'll add that information as I get my head together on it.

I decided to put the information about my relationship to this family in a different blog post that can be found at:


 I was disappointed that audible did not have this book available.  However, I bought it for Kindle for $4.99....quite the bargain!  The book is very well written and engaging.  I found myself reading in bed until late last night.  I'll add to this post as I read and finish the book.

Another e-mail that I sent to Nancy:

I am just beginning the book tonight.  Couldn't help but tell you that after even just a few pages, I read that there is a possible connection to the Ferrer family with Carminow.  I descend from Farrar in Virginia.....I am sure that it is connected.  I'll take a look when I get a chance and get back with you.  marsha  (anyone else reading this, remember that this is VERY iffy!....have done absolutely no research on this.....just didn't want to loose the thought)


Finally finished the book in Nov 2014.  I liked the book.  I wish that I had taken the time to figure more of the history out as I went along.  Some of the main themes of the book from my perspective are:  The craziness of having to marry in one's own social strata vs. the craziness of willing sexual partners close to home who were not marriage material because of not being in the social class of the partner....too many illegitimate children because of this problem.

Roger de Carminow was the heir to his father's estate.  His brother was better at managing the estate because he was on the grounds and paying attention while Roger was off to the Crusades or fighting beside his English king, Edward.

The prologue was very appealing....the effigies made at the death of Roger and Joanna were being carted to a more suitable place after having rested in the Chapel on their property for 300 years.  It appealed to me that someone cared enough to move them to a proper chapel when their own resting place had become a home for cattle....It is what we are supposed to do....revere the dead even when we don't really remember who they were...

One more thought that I don't want to loose....need to check my understanding.  Near the end of the book Roger and his two sons go to fight with Edward against the Scots John Balliol....this would have been late 1200's.....and the author has Roger thinking in Chapter 22 about the the battle that had just taken place:

This was no knightly, chivalrous joust; this was blood for blood; slaughter for slaughter; a war of revenge upon the innocent for the acts of the guilty.  But who were the guilty?  The Scottish lords, for usurping John Balliolo?  Or Balliol himself, for being weak?  Was Edward to blame, for interfering in Scottish affairs?  Yet if he did not do so, what anarchy might not ensue?  An what of the French King, Philip, sitting a safe distance and urging his new-found Scottish allies to perpetrate what atrocities they would, in order that Edward's position in Europe might be weakened?  Guilt, Roger told himself lay not upon one, but upon all.  ....."All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God."  Surely this was never more true than in this war, where revenge seemed heaped upon revenge, and thousands of innocent people were losing their lives in the achievement of so little.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Firebird

I am reading the Firebird by Susanna Kearsley via audible in my car.  As I have said before, Romance is not my favorite genre.  However, the Jacobite uprising ARE one of my favorite subjects.  And I like having history poured into my head with sugar coating.....that is understanding what was going on by looking at someone's life in the time period.  Susanna Kearsley does that very well.  I would never have known that the Scots were in so many places  in the time period just after 1712.  I would never have known the facts that I now know about the building of St Petersburg in Russia.  So I will repeat, while I do not love the Romance genre, I am enjoying this book!

*Starred Review* Authentic historic detail, a touch of the paranormal, and romance come together with a synergistic effect in versatile Kearsley’s (The Rose Garden, 2011) lovely and memorable novel. Nicola Marter works for a London gallery. She not only holds master’s degrees in Russian studies and art history; she also has the secret ability to hold an object and see past events. When a woman comes in with a small carved bird, Nicola has a vision of the Empress Catherine giving it to a young woman named Anna. With no documented provenance, the carving is worthless to collectors, and Nicola feels impelled to authenticate it. Impulsively, she heads to Scotland and enlists the assistance of Rob McMorran, to whom she was attracted when she met him in a psychic study. Even though Nicola can practice psychometry, she knows that Rob’s much stronger psychic powers will be invaluable. Together they embark on a journey that takes them to Ypres and Saint Petersburg and opens a window onto the early eighteenth century and the plight of Jacobites as they unravel Anna’s story. --Diana Tixier Herald