Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Today we have a special character interview with Mary Catherine from Linda Bennett Pennell's book, Confederado do Norte.
I love character interviews as they give us such an in-depth look at the hero or heroine who makes the story come alive!
Thank you, Linda, for bringing Mary Catherine and her story to us today.
LBP: Would you introduce yourself and tell us where you were born?
MC: My name is Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell and I was born January 1, 1857 in Washington County, Georgia on a farm overlooking the Oconee River.
LBP: We know that you left Georgia in 1866 because your father didn’t want to live under Reconstruction. You must have been quite small when the Civil War began. Do you have any memories of life before the war?
MC: It’s sometimes difficult to recall that there was ever a time before the war or that anything existed prior to our world’s being reduced to ashes. That period for me is really only impressions and shadows because they are my very earliest memories, those of a child of less than five years.
LBP: Would you mind sharing what you do remember?
MC: I suspect my memories are, as is the custom with very young children’s recollections, somewhat mixed up and jumbled together. Nevertheless, I will do my best to explain how it once was and then how it became.
During my earliest years I was happy and I had no fear of the future, for young children are blessedly unaware that terrible things can happen in their small, secure worlds. My parents and I lived in a comfortable home and enjoyed the company of neighbors and family within its safe walls. We were kin, in one way or another, to most of the people in the county and Papa was catered to by all of our female relatives, especially his old maid sisters, for you see, ours was a supremely patriarchal society.
LBP: You have mentioned your home. What do you remember of it?
MC: When I picture “home”, I see an unpainted dogtrot farmhouse that wouldn’t have been terribly grand by most people’s lights. It exists now only in shadowy visions: cotton fields stretching from the edge of a deep porch down to the river, flashes of a sunbeam dancing on the lemon oiled surface of Mama’s best table, tall windows and high ceilings. It’s all really rather vague, but I do have a clear memory of Mama’s garden. It is of her favorite rose bush to which I did some considerable damage one spring by picking off all the buds before they even broke color and for which I was spanked rather severely.
LBP: As a Southern farmer, did your father own slaves?
MC: It should be understood that my home was a farm rather than a large plantation. Nonetheless, it did include a few colored slaves, most of whom worked in the fields. Of their faces, it is only Bess’s that has stayed with me into old age. My Bess, who lived in the house, and who took care of me, and whom I loved as much as I did my parents. As was the custom, I was reared more by Bess than by Mama and Papa. It was simply the way of things.
LBP: I see. What do you remember of your parents?
MC: My clearest memories of my parents are that Papa spent his days with the field hands and that Mama loved music. She was an accomplished pianist. Beautiful music filled the house when she played her pianoforte in the parlor. Sometimes when Bess brought me in to say goodnight, Papa would be sitting beside Mama, kissing her neck as she played and she would be smiling at him in the special way that she reserved only for him. I think they must have been very happy. They laughed a lot in those days. Then, the war came.
LBP: Forgive me for asking what may be a painful question, but what do you remember of the war?
MC: Yes, it is still painful after all this time, but I will try to answer as best I can. This was how time was marked with our people: before the war and then after.
Most of my memories from the war are those of a young child and are thankfully not all that clear. It may also be that I have deliberately locked them away in my mind’s deepest recesses. It was a dreadful time. I do remember Mama crying a lot and staring at the small tintype of Papa in his uniform. She read and reread his treasured, but infrequent letters. I know that I often cried myself to sleep at night because I missed my adored papa so much. Toward the end we were hungry all the time because there simply wasn’t anything left to eat. Mama became so thin that Bess fumed and declared that someone would be made to pay for visiting all this trouble upon us, but how this was to be accomplished was unclear since we were just females left to fend for ourselves.
The extent of our defenselessness was resoundingly brought home to us in late November 1864. Although my war memories may be sketchy in some ways, frightening clarity surrounds the arrival of Sherman’s soldiers on their relentless March to the Sea. Even now their shouts and snarling faces haunt my dreams. Some nights I’m disturbed with nightmares of choking on the acrid smoke from our burning home, trying not to reveal our position with coughing, and of the milk cow’s terrified bawling as she was consumed in the barn’s inferno. Mama, Bess, and I hid in the woods down by the river while those men stole everything that wasn’t nailed down and set fire to what they couldn’t carry off.
LBP: It must have been a very difficult time. With your home burned, where did you find shelter?
MC: After the ashes cooled, Bess found a few pieces of tin and repaired the damaged roof over the kitchen, the only building not completely destroyed. We stayed there and made do as best we could. Bess begged Mama to move into town where Papa’s spinster sisters had a small house, but Mama insisted that we couldn’t leave the farm because Papa would expect to find us there.
LBP: What was it like after the war ended, before you all left Georgia?
MC: Some six or seven months after Sherman’s March, the war ended and Papa came home. It was the summer of 1865 and I was just a child, but even then I knew that life as we had known it was over forever.
This is where the fabric of my life increases in its complexity. The texture becomes richer and the pattern becomes more intricate. In unraveling the threads, perhaps they can be rewoven into a firmer, more solid whole – one without the holes and ragged edges that marred it. After all, this was my purpose in writing Confederado do Norte.
At first, I wasn’t sure that it was my papa who had returned to us. It wasn’t just the difference between my five-year-old memories of him and the perceptions of a more grown up girl of eight. He’d become someone I simply couldn’t recognize. His uniform, in which he had once taken such pride, was tattered and filthy. His skin seemed to fold loosely over his tall frame and his eyes were so sunken that his once handsome face had taken on the appearance of a death mask. But the thing that frightened me most was that he didn’t speak to us, not even when Mama cried and begged him to tell her how she could help. By day, he spent most of his time alone simply walking the fields that had once been so productive. He wept at night when I suppose he thought no one could hear him, but why he thought he couldn’t be heard is beyond me, for all of us slept in the same cramped space. And sometimes he cried out in his sleep as though he was still off fighting.
There came a time when he drifted into a phase of almost complete inertia, and for a while, we feared for his sanity. He refused to be roused from his bed despite all of our efforts. He would just stare at Mama and get a strange look in his eyes when she pleaded with him. I wasn’t supposed to know that Mama and Bess thought he might completely lose his mind, but it didn’t take medical training or age to see the vacant stares and hear him in the night.
Gradually, to everyone’s relief, he got a grip on himself, which was worse in many ways because of the rage that replaced the vacant expression in his eyes. I remember avoiding my father, whom I had always adored, but around whom I became cautious. His mercurial nature was confusing and frightening, not unlike the political environment in which we found ourselves living.
LBP: Can you describe that environment?
MC: The Confederacy had lost the war and wherever her people gathered, they discussed the only topic on anyone’s mind – the horrors of armed occupation. A former enemy in charge of the local and state governments was simply something that no one had ever conceived possible.
LBP: What do you think ultimately persuaded your father to desert Georgia?
MC: During times of turmoil, some people cling to anything familiar because it provides a feeling of normalcy, however tenuous. Others seek a different path. Papa and my mother’s eldest brother Nathan, the only men left alive on either side of our family, decided that there was only one response to the unendurable. Like a small number of people from across the region, they ignored the pleas of our former leaders like General Robert E. Lee, and turned their eyes south. Toward a very distant south.
LBP: And how did you feel about this?
MC: I didn’t care who was in charge of the government or how ruined everything was. Georgia was home. It was where my family came from as far back as the American Revolution. But most important, it was where my beloved Bess was. I never got over being separated from the woman who had been the rock in my life since birth. I loved my parents, but they were wrong both before and after the war. Ultimately, the South’s defeat was the best thing that could have happened for all concerned.
LBP: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. We wish you well and hope that writing has provided the solace you sought.
The fictional memoir, Confederado do Norte, can be found on Amazon. Buy link for Confederado do Norte: http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI
Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell
Genre: women’s fiction with romantic elements
Heat level: mild
Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.
Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father.
When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family.
Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.
* * *
Buy link for Confederado do Norte: http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI
I'm a bit late due to internet problems. But here is this week's Thursday's Thread, a Women's Historical Fiction novel due to be released in July, 2014.
Title: Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell
Back Cover blurb:
Mary Catherine is devastated when her family immigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but the latest crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she posseses simply to survive.
Excerpt from Confederado do Norte
I dreamt the dream again last night. In the small hours, I awoke in a tumble of bedclothes and bathed in perspiration despite the howling snowstorm blanketing the city. I rearranged quilts and plumped pillows, but sleep remained elusive. My mind refused to be quiet.
As often happens after such a night, I felt unable to rise at my usual hour and remained abed long after the maids cleared breakfast from the morning room. My daughter-in-law, bless her heart, meant well. I told her it was ridiculous to bring the doctor out on such a frigid day, but apparently the very old, like the very young, are not to be trusted in matters of judgment. After the doctor listened to my chest, a studied sympathy filled his eyes and he gently suggested that perhaps I should get my affairs in order. No doubt he wondered at my smile for he couldn’t have known I have no affairs other than my memories and the emotions they engender.
Unlike most elderly persons, I don’t revel in slogging through the past. It isn’t wrapped in pretty ribbons or surrounded by a golden aura. Instead, its voices haunt my dreams, demanding and accusatory. Until recently, I’ve resisted their intrusion into my waking life, but I now believe the past can no longer remain buried in nocturnal visions. It must be brought out into the light of day. From its earliest moments onward, the past’s substance must be gouged out, pulled apart, and examined bit by bit until its truth is exposed. While total objectivity may not be possible, I have concluded that committing the past to paper is my best hope for sorting facts from imaginings. Perhaps then I will achieve the peace that has so long hidden its face from me.
You see, when I was quite young—only a girl really—I killed four people. Two were dearly beloved, one was a hated enemy, and the last was a dangerous criminal.
My story begins at the end of a terrible war, one that destroyed many lives and much property. But for that war and a handful of newspaper editorials and advertisements, my life would have turned out quite differently. Sometimes it seems no time at all has passed since I was a nine-year-old child standing on the deck of a ship watching home disappear over the horizon.
Warm Gulf breezes tugged at the brim of my bonnet, setting its ribbons dancing. Leaning over the Alyssa Jane’s railing, I stared back in the direction of Mobile Bay and pretended I could see the dock where my beloved Bess stood, probably still waving. Mama, her pretty features marred by a furrowed brow and down turned mouth, paced beside me.
“Mary Catherine MacDonald! Get down before you fall overboard. All we need right now is another crisis. And stop wiping your nose on your sleeve.”
Mama didn’t seem to understand anything anymore. Before we left home, she was calm and kind. Afterward, she snapped at the least little thing. I threw her a hateful glance, but she had already turned away, so I stubbornly leaned a little farther out over the railing. The wake trailing behind the Alyssa Jane looked like a blue-green path lined on either side by mounds of ginned cotton, a path pushing me away from the only life I had ever known. Only my sniveling broke the silence of that October morning.
A swish of crinolines brought Mama beside me. She grabbed my arm and whispered through clenched teeth, “Mary C., I told you to get off that railing. Go below and stay there until you can do as you’re told!”
I stomped across the deck, pausing once beside the mainmast to scowl over my shoulder. It was all so unfair. I hadn’t asked to be dragged along on this blasted trip. I wanted Bess. I wanted to go home, no matter how damaged it was, no matter who ran the stupid government. I wanted to be anywhere but here. But Mama turned away from me. She wasn’t even going to watch to see that I did what she said. Her indifference was like a slap in the face.
As I jumped through the open hatch leading below deck, the pungent odor of pine tar mixed with burning kerosene assailed my senses. I hated the smell. Besides making me slightly queasy, it reminded me of how final my losses were. Nothing at home smelled like the interior of that old tub. I hit the steps at a near run with plans to fling myself into my hammock and stay there forever. It would serve them right if I just upped and died. I bowled along toward the sleeping area blinded by tears and the sudden gloom of the narrow passageway.
Without warning, I crashed headlong into a pair of wool-encased legs. The trousers’ owner and I struggled momentarily in an awkward dance. With a standoff in the making, he harrumphed once, picked me up by my arms, deposited me on the other side of him, and stepped toward the hatch.
Tears forgotten, I tugged on his retreating coattails, ready to let him see my displeasure. Hooded eyes with ink black irises stared down in return. He didn’t look particularly angry, but authority hung about him like a mantle.
I swallowed, choked back what I intended to say, and instead muttered, “I’m sorry for running into you.”
He gazed at me for a moment and then simply nodded before turning away. The Reverend Jonas Williams might be a man of God, but his unsmiling countenance raised the hair at the nape of my neck as though someone stepped on my grave. Mama often fussed that Bess planted too many of her superstitions in my fertile imagination. I was now old enough to understand that some of what Mama said was true. But the Reverend Brother Williams still affected me like a haint. A slight shudder slithered down my spine, as though my body was trying to rid itself of his effect. I turned and fled down the hallway toward our sleeping quarters. Many months later, I would come to see this encounter as an omen, a foreshadowing of all that came afterward.
We passengers, immigrants one and all fleeing the defeated South, slept in a large open area that most likely was used as a cargo hold in the Alyssa Jane’s younger, more prosperous days. Most of the canvas partitions separating the fifteen or so families from one another had been drawn back in hope of allowing fresh sea breezes from the few portholes to circulate. Unfortunately, the plan wasn’t meeting with much success for the air remained stale and fetid with the odors of sweat and bodily functions.
I slumped on the edge of my hammock and kicked at the floorboards, allowing tears to drip from my chin unabated. Life wasn’t at all how it was supposed to be. It hadn’t been since the day Papa rode away to war. He looked so handsome in his gray captain’s uniform. He sat on his favorite stallion at the head of his unit and rode toward a conflict that everybody said would be over by Christmas. Everybody had been terribly wrong.
My ruminations, while sad and haunted, didn’t last long, for my mind turned to more immediate indignities and irritations. I hated staying below deck. I hated the stench. I hated the isolation. I hated the boredom. When I figured enough time had elapsed that it was safe to go above again, I bolted back into the fresh air. Mama now leaned on the stern railing, her gaze fixed on the faint line where the sky’s lighter blue met the Gulf of Mexico’s deep azure. She sniffed once as I approached and turned unusually bright eyes on me.
“Are you feeling better, child?”
When I nodded, she gripped the railing and resumed her observation of the horizon slipping away behind the Alyssa Jane. I eyed her for a moment, before sidling up beside her.
“Mama, why couldn’t Bess come with us?”
Her arm slipped around my shoulders and gave a little squeeze. “Why, darlin’, you’ve been told at least a thousand times. Bess has got to stay in Georgia.”
I jerked away from Mama’s grasp. “That’s not fair! She’s part of our family.”
A pained expression filled her eyes and her lips parted, but no words escaped. Her head lifted slightly and her gaze locked onto the space behind me.
“Mary Catherine MacDonald, you will not raise your voice to your mother.” Mama drew a quick breath as Papa strode to her and took her hand. His attention then returned to me. “No slave has ever been part of our family. It’s unthinkable! Furthermore, Brazil doesn’t allow slaves to be imported anymore. ” The more he spoke, the harder his voice sounded and the more clouded his face became. He concluded with sharper words than I had ever heard him use before. “So stop whining about that nigger mammy of yours and learn to live without her.”
Surprise made me momentarily mute, but my heart pounded and the sun was suddenly much hotter on my upturned face. I drew a couple of rapid breaths so hard that my cheeks puffed in and out. “Bess is too part of our family. I love her and she loves me. You love her too, don’t you Mama?”
A rosy flush crept over Mama’s face and her gaze darted around at the other people on deck. I ignored the warning in her eyes. “Bess took care of me all my life. That makes her part of our family.” Heady with righteous indignation, my eyes narrowed and I delivered my coup de grace. Jabbing an index finger in Papa’s direction, I yelled, “And besides, Bess isn’t a slave anymore and you damn well know it.”
My words rang across a suddenly silent deck. People turned from their own conversations, shook their heads and stared at us. The only sound I could hear was the blood thumping against my eardrums.
Papa’s face blanched. He stooped down until his eyes were level with mine and gripped my upper arms, nearly lifting me from the deck. My head snapped back and forth while he hissed, “You will not speak to anyone, most especially your mother or me, in that manner. Do you understand?” My hands went numb as his grasp tightened. “Now, stop your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Only when he stopped speaking did I notice tears streamed down my cheeks.
As we swayed in silence on the Alyssa Jane’s deck, Papa’s grip slackened and the fire in his eyes burned less brightly. “Besides, your aunts need Bess to cook and clean their house in town. At least that’s one thing that escaped Sherman’s destruction.”
Papa got a far off look in his eyes. His hands released me and dropped to his side as he straightened to his full height.
I knew better than to speak again. Spying a cargo box lashed to a railing on the main deck, I slunk down the steps and made my way to it. I wanted to stay up top rather than breathe the stale air below decks, but I also couldn’t bear being near my parents at that moment.
Papa’s present personality still caught me off guard. Before the war, he rarely raised his voice or hand to me. In truth, I was rather spoiled and cossetted. I begged for pretty dresses and china faced dolls by the dozens. Sometimes, I actually got them too. Now, we were on a ship bound for a place where they didn’t even speak English just because some stupid newspaper advertisements promised defeated Southerners free land. All I wanted was to go home, to have life the way it used to be.
Home. The way it used to be before Papa and Nathan decided they would not endure Yankees and carpetbaggers, our former enemies, being in charge of everything.
I was only five when the War Between the States began. Our old way of life now seemed like a gauzy dream—pleasant upon waking, but dissipating when you reached out to grasp it. Afraid of losing the last tenuous hold on that dream, I invented a little ritual, hoping it would glue fading images to the pages of my memory. Now that Papa and my mother’s only surviving brother were dragging us away from Georgia never to return, the ritual’s importance had taken on the stature of an obsession. I closed my eyes and once again conjured up my earliest memories.
In my mind’s eye, I looked down on the Oconee River from the deep porch of an unpainted dogtrot farmhouse. Cotton fields that came right up to the house stretched out as far as I could see in every direction on our side of the river. The house and the farm wouldn’t have been terribly grand by most people’s lights, but it was home and, therefore, my whole world. The clapboard house and outbuildings existed only in shadowy visions after the war. While I retained only a few hazy memories of the farm, one stands out clearly. It is of Mama’s favorite rose bush to which I did some considerable damage one spring by picking off all the buds before they even broke color and for which I received the first spanking of my life.
A few other people lived on the farm in tiny houses out back of the barn. They were the colored slaves, most of whom worked in the fields, but of their faces, it was only Bess’s that mattered to me. My Bess, who lived in the house, and who took care of me, and whom I loved as much as I did my mother.
My clearest memories of my parents before the war were that Papa spent his days with the field hands and that Mama loved music. Beautiful music filled the house when she played her pianoforte. Sometimes when Bess brought me into the parlor to say goodnight, Papa would be sitting beside Mama, kissing her neck as she played and she would be smiling at him in the special way she reserved only for him. I think they must have been very happy. They laughed a lot back then. Then, the war came. Nobody and nothing was ever the same again.
Papa had come back from the war haunted by what he had seen and the losses he had endured. For a time, we thought he had permanently lost his mind. These days, it didn’t take much to rile him. Mama said not to mind, that he just had so many worries it made him harder to live with than before. Even so, I still couldn’t understand why he spoke so cruelly about Bess of whom he’d always been so fond. My papa’s sunny nature was the most important thing destroyed by the war.
As the days under sail passed into weeks and America became nothing but a memory, Papa’s disposition evolved. To everyone’s relief he seemed more like his old prewar self. The farther we traveled, the more his mood lifted so by the time we docked in Jamaica to take on supplies, his good days outnumbered the bad. I even saw him and Mama kissing under the stars one night when they thought no one else was on deck.
The Alyssa Jane was an old clipper fallen on hard times, reduced to ferrying passengers and commodities along the trade routes extending from ports in the southern United States to destinations in the other Americas. Its confined space provided limited opportunities for me to get into trouble, so I was allowed unaccustomed freedom. The morning we sailed toward Kingston Harbor, I hung over the portside railing from the moment the city’s outline came into view.
Footsteps running up behind caused me to turn and I lost my balance. Papa grabbed a handful of my skirts. “Mary Catherine, you’re going to topple into the water if you keep this up. Get off that railing and put your feet squarely on the deck or you can go below and stay there.”
Instant compliance and a sweet smile seemed to go a long way these days, so I did as I was told. I didn’t want this new/old version of my papa to disappear again.
We passed through Kingston Harbor’s narrow mouth with sails snapping, pushed along by Caribbean breezes. In the distance, I could make out the familiar marks of human habitation trailing along the waterfront, but nothing in my experience had prepared me for Jamaica. Low emerald mountains surrounded an oval bowl of aquamarine water that rolled gently forward to kiss sand the color of cotton just breaking from the bole. Within minutes of entering the harbor, the city’s buildings became distinct and grew in size. A little thrill swept through me as the old clipper bumped against the dock and the sights and smells of Kingston spread out before us like a feast awaiting revelers.
“Papa, please, why cain’t I go with y’all?”
His mouth became a thin line. “Because Kingston isn’t particularly safe.” Then he placed his arm around my shoulders and pointed to the opposite side of the harbor. “Did you know that a wicked pirate city used to be right over there? An earthquake destroyed Port Royal. The whole city simply fell into the sea.” Papa grinned and his eyes grew big. “Why, I’ve heard you can see pirate ghosts rising from the water when the moonlight is just right.”
This was my old Papa, the one I hadn’t seen since war was declared. I slipped my arms around his waist. “Oh, Papa, you’re just so silly sometimes. Everybody knows there’s no such thing as ghosts.”
Papa smiled and picked me up, swinging me around like he used to when I was little. When he placed me on the deck again, I pressed my advantage.
“Please cain’t I go? Please?”
“You’re cutting me in half.” Papa pulled my arms away from his middle and smiled. “If it means that much to you, I guess it won’t hurt for you to go into town. But you absolutely must stay by your mama’s side. When she says it’s time to return to the boat, there will be no arguments. Understand?”
As I stretched up to plant a kiss on his cheek, angry shouts and the percussive report of a pistol rang across the harbor.
* * *
Other Books by Linda Pennell:
Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel now available from Soul Mate Publishing
All 4th Of July 99 Cents Abbotsford Adam Adam-a-highlander-romance Aidi Breed American-civil-war Anastasia Abboud Andrea-r-cooper Angela-scavone Anne-b-cole Anthology April-holthaus Ashley York Australia Author Interview Bambi Lynn Barbara Bettis Barnes & Noble Berengaria-brown Best-seller Betrayal Black Watch Museum Blair-castle Blog Hop Book Deal Book Dogs Book Giveaway Book Release Day Book Release Party Book Sale Book Series Books To Read After Outlander Booksweeps Border-collies Boxed-set Braemar-highland-games Brenda-stinnett Burke-and-hare Capercallie Carly-jordynn Carmen-stefanescu Carol-ann-moleti Carole-ann-moleti Caroline-warfield Castle-menzies Catherine-castle Cathy & DD MacRae Cathy Dd Macrae Cathy-macrae Cd-hersh Ceci-giltenan Celebrations Celeste Barclay Celtic Cerian-herbert Character-interview Char-chaffin Chocolate Christmas Christmas-box-set Claire-gem Clava-cairns Collette-cameron Colley Collie Compuiter-woes Contemporary-mystery Contemporary-paranormal Contemporary-romance Contest Cover-reveal Creme-de-la-cover-contest Ct-green Culloden-battlefield Cynthia-owens Daryl Devore Dawn-ireland Dawn-marie-hamilton Dd-macrae Debut Debut-author Dewars-distillery Direct-deposit Edinburgh Eilean-donan-castle Elisabeth-hobbes Elizabeth-preston Elizabeth-rose Eliza Knight Elle-hill Evil-villain Excerpts Fantasy-historical Farleyer-lodge First First-kiss Flowers Food Forth-bridges France Free-book Free-books Freki Georgian-romance German-shepherd Get-lost-in-a-story-blog-interview Ghost-tour Gilda Gildas-story Giveaway Glen-ord-whisky Graveyards Guest-author Guest-blogger Halloween Hardy-heroines Highland-chocolatier Highlander-romance Highland-escape Highland-romance Historical-irish Historical-post Historical Romance Hm-queen-elizabeth-ii Holiday Holiday-read Hot-historicals Hurricane-harvey Iain-burnett Indtale Jenna Jaxon Jenni-fletcher Jessica-jefferson Jill-hughey Judith Sterling Karen-lopp Kate-hill Katherine-bone Kathryn-le-veque Kelley Heckart Kindle-world Kobo Lane Mcfarland Larynn-ford Laura-strickland Laurel Odonnell Lauren-linwood Leault-farm Legends-of-scotland Life-with-freki Limited-time-offer Linda-bennett-pennell Lochleven-castle Loch-ness Luxury-cruises Macleod Madeline-martin Madelyn-hill Maggie-mundy Mairi-norris Marilyn-baxter Mary-gillgannon Mary Morgan Meda-white Medieval-blog-hop Medieval-hop Medieval-monday-2015 Medieval-monday-2016 Medieval-monday-2017 Medievalmonday2018 Medieval-monday-2018 Medieval Monday 2019 Medieval Monday 2020 Medieval Monday 2021 Medieval Monday Fall 2020 Medieval Mondays Medieval Monday Spring 2020 Medieval-mystery Medieval Romance Meet-the-characters Meggan-connor Meggan-connors Mhairis-yuletide-wish Military-romance Miriam-newman Neva-brown New Book Nicole-locke Night-owl-reviews Norman-conquest Nostalgia-romance Novella Paranormal Paranormal Romance Patricia-hudson Patrick Paty-jager Pirate-romance Pirates Post-civil-war Postcivil-war-western-romance Preorder Pre-order Prizes Puppy Rachel-sharpe R-b-austin Rb-austin Recipe Recipes Red-l-jameson Regency-romance Release-date Research Review Rl-syme Romance Romance-novels Romance-on-the-high-seas Romantic-mystery Romantic-suspense Rone-award Rue-allyn Ruth A Casie Ruth-a-casie Ruth-kaufman Sale Samantha-wyatt Samhain Sandra-harris Sandra-jones Sarah-hegger Sarah-hoss Sarah-woodbury Saranna-dewylde Scavenger-hunt Sci-fi-romance Scifi-romance Sc-mitchell Scotland Scotland-with-grace-2016 Scottish-crannog-centre Scottish-historical Scottish-regency Scottish Romance Sheep Sherrie-hansen Sherry Ewing Sherry-ewing Short-dog-press Sir-walter-scott Sophia Nye Soul-mate-publishing Southern-romance Special-price Spermbanks Spring Steamships Stella-marie-alden St-patricks-day Sweet-romance Tam Tea-party-and-books Teaser-tuesday Thankful The-ghosts-of-culloden-moor-series The-hardy-heroines-series The-hghlanders-accidental-bride The-highlanders-accidental-bride The-highlanders-bride-series The Highlander's Crusader Bride The-highlanders-french-bride The-highlanders-norse-bride The-highlanders-outlaw-bride The Highlander's Pirate Bride The-highlanders-reluctant-bride The-highlanders-tempestuous-bride The-highlanders-viking-bride The-highlanders-welsh-bride The Prince's Highland Bride The-reading-cafe The-saint The-seventh-son The-twalve-days-o-yuletide Thursdays-teaser Thursdays-threads Time-travel Time Travel Romance Tina-susedik Top-ten-list Travel Twelve-days-of-christmas Uisge-beatha Urban-fantasy Urquart-castle Valentine Valentines Day Victorian-romance Victoria-zak Vijaya-schartz Viking-romance Vikings Villains Viola-russell Wales Wareeze-woodson Water-kelpie Weeping-window-of-poppies Western-romance Whisky Winner Winners Womens-fiction World-of-de-wolfe Ya-fantasy