From the ages of 5 to 15, Jess Smith lived with her parents, sisters and a mongrel dog in an old, blue Bedford bus. They travelled the length and breadth of Scotland, and much of England too, stopping here and there until they were moved on by the local authorities or driven by their own instinctive need to travel. By campfires, under the unchanging stars they brewed up tea, telling stories and singing songs late into the night. "Jessie's Journey" describes what it was like to be one of the last of the traditional travelling folk. It is not an idyllic tale, but despite the threat of bigoted abuse and scattered schooling, humour and laughter run throughout a childhood teeming with unforgettable characters and incidents.
In Tales from the Tent, Jess Smith - Scottish traveller, hawker, gypsy, 'gan-about' and storyteller - continues the unforgettable story started in Jessie's Journey of her life on the road. Unable to adjust to settled life working in a factory after leaving school, she finds herself drawn once again to the wild countryside of Scotland. Having grown up on the road in an old blue bus with her parents and seven sisters, Jessie now joins her family in caravans, stopping to rest in campsites and lay-bys as they follow work around the country - berry-picking, hay-stacking, ragging, fortune-telling and hawking. Making the most of their freedom, Jessie and her family continue the traditional way of life that is disappearing before their eyes, wandering the roads and byways, sharing tales and living on the edge of 'acceptable' society. Intertwined with the story of Jessie's loveable but infuriating family, incorrigible friends, first loves and first losses are her 'tales from the tent', a collection of folklore from the traveller's world, tales of romance, mythical beasts, dreams, ghostly apparitions and strange encounters.
Introducing "Sookin' Berries", her collection of stories for younger readers, Jess Smith writes: 'I have been a gatherer of tales for most of my life, and I suppose it all began when I was a wee girl. I shared a home with parents, seven sisters and a shaggy dog. It could be said that I lived a different sort of life from most other children, because 'home' was an old blue bus. We were known as tinkers or travellers, descendants of those who have wandered the highways and by ways of Scotland for two thousand years'. Acclaimed for her autobiographical trilogy, "Jessie's Journey", Jess is on a mission to pass on the stories she heard as a girl to the young readers of today.'If you are aged from around 10 going on 100, then you're a fine age to read, enjoy and hopefully remember forever these ancient oral tales of Scotland's travelling people. What I'd like you to do in this book is to come with me on the road; back to those days when it was time to pack up and get going, and to take the way of our ancestors. I want you to imagine that, as my friend, you are by the campfire listening to the magical Scottish stories that have been handed down through generations of travellers'.
Bruar's Rest is an epic tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of World War One. The story opens in the Highlands at the beginning of the twentieth century. The gypsy wife of wild drunkard Rory Stewart dies giving birth to their second son. Many years pass, and Rory and his sons are rootless travellers on the roads of Scotland. One night, during a winter storm, they save another traveller family from freezing to death in a blizzard. Bruar Stewart and one of the girls he rescues, the hot-blooded and beautiful Megan, fall in love. But the First World War is declared, tearing their lives apart. Bruar is reported missing in action, and Megan sets off on a long and perilous journey to find him...An epic tale of love and loyalty by the author of the spellbinding autobiographical trilogy, Jessie's Journey.
Although technically puppies are young dogs, Puppy Pal Pointers: From the True Tails of Ripple and Jessie relates to dogs of all ages. The book consists of subjects that are pertinent to every devoted owner, including caring for, treating, understanding, treasuring, bonding with, and grieving for your cherished dog, plustips on pet care for kids. Topics pertaining to dog care and responsible ownership are covered, such as parasite control, hygiene, overpopulation concerns, relationships with cats, the human-animal bond, pet loss, and the grief process. Puppy Pal Pointers is different from other books on pet carebecause it is told through the sage eyes of two beloveddogs (as shared with Pamela J. Wilson), including one who fearlessly faced life's challenges with only three legs.Endearing pictures of them in various activities, along with photos of theirpreciouscanine and feline peers, are used to accentuate points.The wise teachings of charming fictional friends, both furry and feathered,can be foundin thefollowing childrens books, whichwere written by the person who belongs to Ripple and Jessie:Tales From Tubblewood: A Duck For All Seasons and Tales From Tubblewood Too: Miss Duck to the Rescue. (www.Tubblewoodtales.com)
heart-warming reminiscences' - The Sunday Post 'Tales tumble out of Jess Smith's head and its her manner of telling them that is so compulsive' - The Scots Magazine 'Jess skilfully takes her reader into the world of Scottish Travellers in her own down-to-earth, straight-from-the-heart manner. Filled with warmth and humour' - Travellers' Times In the third and final book of Jess Smith's autobiographical trilogy, Jess traces her eventful life with Dave and their three children, from their earliest years together. Their adventures and achievements are interspersed with stories of her parents' childhood, her father's 'tall tales' and the eerie echoes of ghosts and hauntings that she has heard from gypsies and travellers over many years. Fans of Jess Smith will not be disappointed with her latest memoir, full of more unforgettable characters and insight into the travellers' way of life, a tradition that stretches back more than 2000 years and survives in the rich oral tradition of its people.
A transcendent tale of a woman's self-discovery—the New York Times–bestselling second work of fiction by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion. When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded to the smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right, and with the immutable force of home and marriage. Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie’s life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to discover selfhood and a place of belonging as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.