FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
It is my pleasure to have Connie Archer, author of the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries as a guest on the blog today.
My Review: This was the first book I read by Connie, but with a last name like Archer I knew it had to be good. It was one of my spring break reads. And I truly enjoyed it, so much so that over the summer I plan to read the other books in the series. Even though the story starts out with a death, there was just something peaceful and calming about Snowflake, Vermont. It’s certainly the kind of town I would like to visit. I really enjoyed meeting all of the characters. Archer spins a wonderful mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. For all my friends and followers who enjoy Cozy Mysteries, I highly recommend Roux of Revenge.
And now a word from Connie . . .
When a band of travelers arrives in the village of Snowflake, Vermont and a dead stranger is found by the side of the road, the past returns with a vengeance. Long kept secrets will be revealed, lost loves will be found and the lives of many in the village will be irrevocably altered.
Special thanks to Booklady’s Booknotes for hosting this stop on my blog tour for A Roux of Revenge.
At my earlier stop at Books-n-Kisses (http://www.books-n-kisses.com/), I talked about my inspiration for this plot – it was a brief news article about a group of gypsies apprehended at the Canadian border attempting to illegally cross into the United States.
I realized that since the By the Spoonful Soup Shop is located in Snowflake, Vermont, it was quite conceivable that a group of travelers could come to town. My invented clan became an extended family of Scottish Gaelic-speaking musicians who trace their roots to Cape Breton and who return there every year. I hope the real residents of Cape Breton will forgive me for this license, since they are probably not travelers, but they are of Scottish descent and their language and music is famous the world over.
My fictional clan really wasn’t that much of a stretch because in Scotland, gypsies or travelers have been around for over 500 years. They are divided generally into three groups – the lowland travelers, the border gypsies and the highland gypsies. Today’s post is about this third group — the indigenous highland gypsies of Scotland. And for all I know, my travelers really are descended from this group.
The highland traveler community has a long history in Scotland going back to the 12th century. No one is quite sure where these people originated. One theory is that they are the descendants of Picts – remember those fearsome creatures who painted themselves blue and attacked the Roman legions from the trees? Another theory is that they were people migrating after a highland potato famine, or even families fleeing from the Norman invasion.
Scottish travelers are called by the derogatory term “Tinkers,” but highland travelers are also known as “Craftsmen” or “Summer Walkers.” They are culturally and linguistically distinct from other gypsy groups like the Romani, the English Romnichels and the Welsh Kale groups. They are closely tied to the native highlands, and many traveler families carry clan names such as MacPhee, Stewart, MacDonald, Cameron or Macmillan. It is estimated that perhaps only 2,000 people in Scotland still live a nomadic life — most have settled down to a more traditional lifestyle, living in houses in towns and villages.
Scottish travelers have kept alive ancient traditions of storytelling, folklore and music, as well as their language. My clan of Gaelic-speaking travelers are accomplished musicians, not unlike the talented people of Cape Breton today. And I’ll bet their music is just as haunting and beautiful. I hope you’ll read more about them in A Roux of Revenge.
Take a minute, if you can, to listen:
Ba Mo Leanabh http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnCI_kFuG3g
Mo Ghile Mear http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ojy1W6r8L0
or the Cape Breton fiddle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMP2UgFirXY
If you’d like to learn more about traveler culture, read on and explore the following websites.
The Gypsy Lore Society
Roma of the Americas
You can visit Connie at www.conniearchermysteries.com