Carrie Fancett Pagels' "The Substitute Bride" in O' Little Town of Christmas collection is a 2016 Published MAGGIE AWARD FINALIST in Romance Novellas!!!

Tea Party winners: Tamera Lynn Kraft's winner is Sherida Stewart, Debra E. Marvin's winner Deana Dick for Ebook of Starlight Serenade, Debora Wilder for Winner's Choice (movies or cookbook), Carrie Fancett Pagels’ winner of choice of ebook or paperback of Tea Shop Folly goes to Teri DiVincenzo and ebook of Love's Sporting Chance goes to Becky Dempsey. Carrie's special unannounced pink heart shaped cup and saucer goes to Melissa Henderson who attended both parties! CONGRATS and thanks for partying with us, colonial style!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sheep in Colonial America

English Leicester sheep at Colonial Williamsburg
I've been learning a lot about sheep in Colonial times. As a shepherd - as well as a history geek - I find all the information very interesting! Here are some of the highlights:

1) England did its best to prevent sheep from being imported to the colonies to protect their monopoly on the textile industry. The Dutch, however, were very successful at sneaking the animals in.

2) Sheep were raised primarily for wool. Lamb and mutton (any sheep over the age of 1 year) were rarely eaten. Colonists needed to cloth their families, so the sheep were more valuable as wool producers. Sheep and lambs that were eaten were likely animals who were injured or had some defect that made survival unlikely.

3) Sheep were smaller than the animals we see today. They matured at about 60 pounds. Today's meat lambs go to market at 6 - 8 months old and weigh around 150 pounds. Mature English Leicester ewes (also known as Leicester Longwool) today will weigh up to 200 pounds. Quite a change from the 60 pounds in Colonial times. Rams can reach 300 pounds.

4) George Washington was very interested in sheep. He imported (apparently, once sheep were well-established in the colonies, England lifted the ban) English Leicesters and bred to improve the breed. He was one of many Colonial farmers interested in genetics and animal husbandry.

Katie - English Leicester ewe lamb at Twin Willows Farm
Last month this little girl came to live on our farm. She's an English Leicester ewe lamb, about 12 weeks old in this photo. Besides being a good wool producer for this handspinner, she's also a piece of our American history. Who knows, she might even be a direct descendant from that long-ago flock owned by President George Washington.

Debut story releasing in April 2017 from Barbour.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review of WIDOW by Tina St. Clair Rice

The Restoration Trilogy: When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (White), apothecary (Widow) and log cabin (Witch) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.


Widow is the second book in the Restoration Trilogy, but can be read as a stand-alone book. The story spans two eras: Civil War-era Oglethorpe County, Georgia and present day. It is interesting that many of the characters of the past parallel present day characters' in their life experiences, heartaches, struggles, joys and faith. There are events that occur in both eras that are not something I like to read about but the author has sensitively dealt with these events—I appreciate that not much detail is given about them but it is clear what those event(s) are.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the restoration process and the lifestyle of the past era. I would like to see the mural of the Dunham Plantation in the parlor that Stella painted, it sounds beautiful. One of the characters from the past era felt she was a widow even though her abusive husband was very much alive due to the events in their lives together—I could see why she felt that way.

Jennifer Rushmore’s ideas for the small community where she is restoring the house and apothecary shop of Michael Johnson’s ancestors excites most of the community. Michael and Jennifer often didn't agree on things but learned to overcome their differences and work together on the restoration. Little by little the suppressed past Jennifer has long hidden from others—and herself—is triggered, bringing fresh pain and heartache. I love the Bible verse Stella shares with Jennifer, “He will give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3 KJV) and reminds her that as a Christian she is “no broken piece of pottery”. Michael has his own heartaches and griefs from his past which he is struggling with as well. His past griefs certainly impacted his life in every way. Will he open his heart to God and finally forgive and let the past go?

I enjoyed the friendship between Jennifer and a 12-year-old girl, Montana and how they interact. The armadillo infestation was fun to watch as Michael, Jennifer and the others tried to prevent further damage to the yard and gardens and their ultimate solution. Then there is the mysterious accidents and danger that occur on the restoration site which brings anxiety, uncertainties and possible danger.

We see the characters applying the lessons learned from the past regarding many areas in their own lives: overcoming heartbreak, importance of friendships, how forgiveness frees the one doing the forgiving, love, faith and God's unfailing love and grace.

~ I received a PDF copy of this book from the author, (no monetary gain were exchanged), this is my honest review~

Widow releases Sept. 1. Pre-order link on Amazon:

Denise Weimer's author page:


The Apothecary Shop


Monday, August 22, 2016

City Tavern in Philadelphia by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Arriving at the City Tavern, in Philadelphia, on a recent trip there, I couldn't help but think of my characters Suzanne and Johan in my colonial novel, partially set in Philadelphia. How closely does the current City Tavern resemble the original, for instance? As we walked to the tavern, I admired the colonial items displayed in the curved window (see above.)

I'm betting the original tavern had a lantern hanging on the side of the building. And no sign like the one pictured (but isn't it cute?) This was our second visit to City Tavern, having visited a number of years ago when I was researching Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican, June 2016). 
We entered the building, which features the beautiful windows shown above. And we were greeted by strains of colonial music!

On the Sunday night of our recent visit we were delighted to be treated to harp music throughout our dinner. It was absolutely heavenly sounding! A welcome surprise after a difficult drive up from Virginia and very relaxing.

I had some fabulous crab cakes with City Tavern's special remoulade sauce, a delicious salad, and enjoyed a raspberry shrub -- all fabulous!  The three of us shared a piece of chocolate mousse cake.

Visitors are encouraged to  visit the other rooms in the tavern, too. The entry hallway shown above and our dining area below.
The original City Tavern was a hotbed of activity. It was eventually torn down. But fortunately for us, it was rebuilt and features colonial era food with the famous chef, Walter Staib. Our server, dressed in colonial-era reproduction clothing, was attentive and knowledgeable about area history.  

If you get a chance, visit City Tavern in historic Philadelphia and enjoy a delightful dining experience! 

Bio: Carrie Fancett Pagels is the Colonial Quills administrator and award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Her latest novel Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter is partially set in mid-18th century Philadelphia.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Well Dressed Colonial Woman

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

During the Revolutionary War, fashion often was adapted to the times. Many women boycotted cloth made in England, but calico which was banned in England was a mainstay of Colonial life. Women who lived near larger cities had more available to them then women who lived further west. Wherever they lived, the well dressed colonial woman had certain staples in her wardrobe.

The Basics: Colonial women dressed in layers. In the South, they wore less layers than in the North, but they still would not be seen in public without these basic layers. The first thing a woman would put on is a shift, a natural colored short loose linen gown. Next a colonial woman would wear a stay on the upper part of her body to help her posture. Next would come a hoop petticoat. Sometimes a woman would also wear an outer petticoat. Her gown would open in the middle to show her outer petticoat. In cold weather, she would wore more than two petticoats for extra warmth.

Dresses: A colonial women would wear a gown which was a bodice and skirt open in the middle to reveal a petticoat. A vest like garment called a stomacher would add a touch of color to the outfit. Kerchiefs of white or black silk or lace would be worn above the stomacher for modesty. Pieces of fabric were sewn on ether side of the dress called compreres and were sometimes laced with cords. Every gown except formal dresses were covered with aprons to protect the fabric and keep it from getting soiled. The aprons were even worn to church when women wore their Sunday best. Fabrics were usually simple cotton with checks, stripes and floral patterns, but ballgowns were made of silk or brocade.

Accessories: Every colonial woman wore a cap over her hair to keep it clean since she rarely washed it. For formal wear, women's hairstyles were elaborate coiffures or wigs, sometimes powdered. Hats were sometimes worn on top of their caps or wigs, but were not worn often due to war shortages. Shoes were leather with metal buckles or laces and were either flat or had high clunky heels. For jewelry, even poor women would wear miniature cameos on silk necklaces or bands.

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and was a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her novellas Resurrection of Hope and A Christmas Promise are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Patriot Jonathan Trumbull

Elaine Marie Cooper

One of my most enjoyable pastimes in researching the American Revolution is discovering lesser-known figures whose role was crucial in helping the Continental Army win against the King’s Army. Jonathan Trumbull was one of these patriots.

Trumbull was the only Colonial governor to remain in office throughout the war, and then win election as the governor of his state following the Revolution. He served Connecticut for 15 years. Siding with the Patriot cause, Trumbull is credited with supplying the Continental Army with about 60% of the food and canons. Because of his efforts, Connecticut earned the unofficial title of “The Provision State.”

A former business owner, Trumbull’s store in Lebanon, Connecticut, became the War Office and a meeting place for the Council of Safety. Dignitaries who visited there during the Revolution included a veritable Who’s Who list of political and military dignitaries, including George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin, and cousins Sam and John Adams.

Jonathan Trumbull’s family was among the first to settle in the colony of Connecticut in 1705. Jonathan was born in 1710. As he grew, he originally planned on becoming a minister. However, when his older brother was lost at sea, Jonathan was recalled home from his studies at Harvard to help with the family business.

He proved to be a successful businessman and his reputation led to becoming a leader in his community. He was elected in 1733 to the colonial general assembly. He also served as colonel in the Twelfth Connecticut Regiment during the French and Indian War. He was elected state governor in 1769.

His wife, Faith Robinson, was a direct descendant of John and Priscilla Alden who sailed to America aboard the Mayflower. Jonathan and Faith had six children. One of their sons, John, became a famous early American painter, best known for his depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

Jonathan Trumbull was unchallenged in his bid for the office of Governor of Connecticut in 1775. In 1784, he decided not to run for another term.

Trumbull spent his retirement studying theology. He died of a stroke on this day in history, August 17, 1785.

In 1934, The Daughters of the American Revolution purchased Trumbull’s Lebanon home and his store (the “War Office”) and have operated both as a museum ever since. They are open to the public but are currently under restoration, and closed for the 2016 season.

For further information, visit here.

The Connecticut Historical Society has collections of his personal and business letters, including correspondence with George Washington and Benedict Arnold.