Friday, November 29, 2019

The Caribbean Irish

Garcia, Miki. The Caribbean Irish: How the Slave Myth Was Made. Alresford, Hampshire: Chronos Books, 2019.

Many Irish settled in the Caribbean region, particularly in Barbados, fairly early. They mostly came as indentured servants, but this led to a rumor of enslavement. The sugar trade in the Caribbean drove the need for workers in the region, and the Irish, considered less-than-desirable by other Europeans, produced the essential labor until their replacement by African slave labor. While the book seems to be well-researched, it is not well-documented. With an average of one end note every two pages, the author failed to credit many sources and inadequately cited others by including a title in the text without including pages. The lack of documentation makes the work less useful and less credible. I received an advance review copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Knot on Your Life

Hechtman, Betty. Knot on Your Life. n.p.: Beyond the Page, 2019.

Casey continues to host yarn retreats at the resort across from the home she inherited from a relative. In this installment she finds herself hosting a group of women all acquainted with one another. A Silicon Valley entrepreneurial group on a mindfulness treat also booked the resort. The entrepreneurs are a bit jealous of the extra perks the women receive and ask for knitting lessons which one man thinks would be more "mindful" than the activities the resort's owner planned for them. Casey discovers one of the women dying near the dangerous rocks. A former Chicago private investigator, Casey remains one step ahead of the police investigator. Although not a complex mystery, it was enjoyable. The only other book in the series I read was the first. I received an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Manor House Murder

Martin, Faith. The Manor House Murder. London: Joffe Books, 2019.

Monica and husband Vicar Graham attend a clerics conference at a manor house. A cleric who mentioned a nut allergy dies after eating a dessert infused with peanuts. The chef is appalled someone tampered with his dessert. Monica, convinced Chief Inspector Jason is on the wrong track, begins her own investigation. We see more of Jason's investigation than Monica's. Too many characters and dull writing make this a struggle to read. A few places showed promise but the narrative's flatness returned too quickly. I did not read previous installments in the series so it's possible that affected my enjoyment as well. I received an advance review copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Christian Education

Cardoza, Freddy, editor. Christian Education: A Guide to the Foundations of Ministry. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019.

Christian education has changed quite a bit over the years, but it has also remained the same. The discipline itself has expanded to include many new ministries, and many of us witnessed the development of these ministries. Designed to serve as an introductory textbook for Christian education courses in Christian universities, this book demonstrates the hybrid nature of Christian education today. It draws from philosophy, psychology, business, religion, sociology, and other disciplines to emphasize the importance of ministering to all persons. With chapters by leading Evangelical Christian educators, the book emphasizes personal evangelism in spreading the Gospel and encourages training all believers to share their faith. Some writers developed their topic better than others who seemed to give only superficial treatment to the topic. With more topics to cover than textbooks of forty years ago, the editor's challenge in creating a volume suitable for a foundation course is understandable, but the coverage given some topics which used to garner more attention in courses of this nature is disappointing. This book should serve well as an introductory text for years to come when supplemented by additional content addressing weaker portions of the text. I received this advance review copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review. Although I worked as a seminary librarian when some of the chapter authors attended my institution, I did not allow my friendship with the authors to influence my review.

Death Has Deep Roots

Gilbert, Michael. Death Has Deep Roots. Naperville, Illinois: Poisoned Pen Press, 2019.

Victoria Lamartine faces a charge of murder. Her alleged lover Major Thoseby's murder made her the most logical suspect. Attorney Nap Rumbold becomes a late replacement for the defense. Can he save his client from the gallows? Much of the book consists of hearings at the Old Bailey. Some shows Rumbold's activities in trying to clear his client. Lamartine participated in the French Resistance during World War II, and the mystery takes us back to that time to absolve her. Although I enjoyed Perry Mason mysteries during my junior high years, my love of the courtroom mystery did not continue into adulthood. I requested it based on the World War II connection and because of its British Library Crime Classics series designation. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would after discovering it was a courtroom setting. I consider it an average mystery. I received an advance electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Hampton, New Hampshire, in Poem

Bill West created the Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge. The challenge now in its eleventh year asks participants to blog a poem about a region where an ancestor resided and to tell how it relates to the ancestor.

This poem mentions my ancestor Rev. Stephen Bachiler as "Father Bachiler." His Puritan-leaning teachings led to his arrival in Boston in 1632. He pastored in Saugus (now Lynn) and Newbury before helping establish the town of Hampton. He returned to England in 1653 and died near London in 1656.1

The poem lacks historical accuracy. The actual wreck mentioned in this poem occurred in the autumn, rather than summer, of 1657, after Bachiler's return to England and death.2 Goody Cole, also mentioned in the poem, was imprisoned in 1656.3 While the poem does not report the number aboard the vessel, Joseph Dow's town history reports the deaths of eight Hampton residents in the disaster.4

The Wreck of Rivermouth
by John Greenleaf Whittier

Rivermouth Rocks are fair to see,
By dawn or sunset shone across,
When the ebb of the sea has left them free,
To dry their fringes of gold-green moss
For there the river comes winding down,
From salt sea-meadows and uplands brown,
And waves on the outer rocks afoam
Shout to its waters, "Welcome home!"

And fair are the sunny isles in view
East of the grisly Head of the Boar,
And Agamenticus lifts its blue
Disk of a cloud the woodlands o'er;
And southerly, when the tide is down,
'Twixt white sea-waves and sand-hills brown,
The beach-birds dance and the gray gulls wheel
Over a floor of burnished steel.

Once, in the old Colonial days,
Two hundred years ago and more,
A boat sailed down through the winding ways
Of Hampton River to that low shore,
Full of a goodly company
Sailing out on the summer sea,
Veering to catch the land-breeze light,
With the Boar to left and the Rocks to right.

In Hampton meadows, where mowers laid
Their scythes to the swaths of salted grass,
"Ah, well-a-day! our hay must be made!"
A young man sighed, who saw them pass.
Loud laughed his fellows to see him stand
Whetting his scythe with a listless hand,
Hearing a voice in a far-off song,
Watching a white hand beckoning long.

"Fie on the witch!" cried a merry girl,
As they rounded the point where Goody Cole
Sat by her door with her wheel atwirl,
A bent and blear-eyed poor old soul.
"Oho!" she muttered, "ye 're brave to-day!
But I hear the little waves laugh and say,
'The broth will be cold that waits at home;
For it 's one to go, but another to come!'"

"She's cursed," said the skipper; "speak her fair:
I'm scary always to see her shake
Her wicked head, with its wild gray hair,
And nose like a hawk, and eyes like a snake."
But merrily still, with laugh and shout,
From Hampton River the boat sailed out,
Till the huts and the flakes on Star seemed nigh,
And they lost the scent of the pines of Rye.

They dropped their lines in the lazy tide,
Drawing up haddock and mottled cod;
They saw not the Shadow that walked beside,
They heard not the feet with silence shod.
But thicker and thicker a hot mist grew,
Shot by the lightnings through and through;
And muffled growls, like the growl of a beast,
Ran along the sky from west to east.

Then the skipper looked from the darkening sea
Up to the dimmed and wading sun;
But he spake like a brave man cheerily,
"Yet there is time for our homeward run."
Veering and tacking, they backward wore;
And just as a breath-from the woods ashore
Blew out to whisper of danger past,
The wrath of the storm came down at last!

The skipper hauled at the heavy sail
"God be our help!" he only cried,
As the roaring gale, like the stroke of a flail,
Smote the boat on its starboard side.
The Shoalsmen looked, but saw alone
Dark films of rain-cloud slantwise blown,
Wild rocks lit up by the lightning's glare,
The strife and torment of sea and air.

Goody Cole looked out from her door
The Isles of Shoals were drowned and gone,
Scarcely she saw the Head of the Boar
Toss the foam from tusks of stone.
She clasped her hands with a grip of pain,
The tear on her cheek was not of rain
"They are lost," she muttered, "boat and crew!
Lord, forgive me! my words were true!"

Suddenly seaward swept the squall;
The low sun smote through cloudy rack;
The Shoals stood clear in the light, and all
The trend of the coast lay hard and black.
But far and wide as eye could reach,
No life was seen upon wave or beach;
The boat that went out at morning never
Sailed back again into Hampton River.

O mower, lean on thy bended snath,
Look from the meadows green and low
The wind of the sea is a waft of death,
The waves are singing a song of woe!
By silent river, by moaning sea,
Long and vain shall thy watching be
Never again shall the sweet voice call,
Never the white hand rise and fall!

O Rivermouth Rocks, how sad a sight
Ye saw in the light of breaking day
Dead faces looking up cold and white
From sand and seaweed where they lay.
The mad old witch-wife wailed and wept,
And cursed the tide as it backward crept
"Crawl back, crawl back, blue water-snake
Leave your dead for the hearts that break!"

Solemn it was in that old day
In Hampton town and its log-built church,
Where side by side the coffins lay
And the mourners stood in aisle and porch.
In the singing-seats young eyes were dim,
The voices faltered that raised the hymn,
And Father Dalton, grave and stern,
Sobbed through his prayer and wept in turn.

But his ancient colleague did not pray;
Under the weight of his fourscore years
He stood apart with the iron-gray
Of his strong brows knitted to hide his tears;
And a fair-faced woman of doubtful fame,
Linking her own with his honored name,
Subtle as sin, at his side withstood
The felt reproach of her neighborhood.

Apart with them, like them forbid,
Old Goody Cole looked drearily round,
As, two by two, with their faces hid,
The mourners walked to the burying-ground.
She let the staff from her clasped hands fall
"Lord, forgive us! we're sinners all!"
And the voice of the old man answered her
"Amen!" said Father Bachiler.

So, as I sat upon Appledore
In the calm of a closing summer day,
And the broken lines of Hampton shore
In purple mist of cloudland lay,
The Rivermouth Rocks their story told;
And waves aglow with sunset gold,
Rising and breaking in steady chime,
Beat the rhythm and kept the time.

And the sunset paled, and warmed once more
With a softer, tenderer after-glow;
In the east was moon-rise, with boats off-shore
And sails in the distance drifting slow.
The beacon glimmered from Portsmouth bar,
The White Isle kindled its great red star;
And life and death in my old-time lay
Mingled in peace like the night and day!5

1 “Stephen Bachiler,” Wikipedia ( : accessed 1 November 2019).
2 Joseph Dow, History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement in 1638, to the Autumn of 1892 (Salem, Massachusetts: Salem Press, 1894), 1:57; Internet Archive ( : accessed 1 November 2019.
3 Dow, History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire, 1:54.
4 Joseph Dow, History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire, 1:57.
5 John Greenleaf Whittier, The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1894), 245-247.