In 1960 a tattered diary was discovered in a box of books in a Plattsburgh, New York auction. Fortunately, Mary Smallman, the Saint Lawrence County historian, became intrigued by the book and transcribed it and spent several years researching the author's story. Phebe Orvis was born in Bristol, Vermont and kept her journal from 1820, when she was 19, until 1830. Her parents and grandparents were some of the area's earliest white settlers and Phebe's life is not at all what one might expect in the early years of frontier life. As a young unmarried woman she enjoyed a certain amount a freedom which accompanied the revolutionary spirit of the new nation. She had an active social life, traveled often to surrounding towns and would attend the Middlebury Female Seminary. Unfortunately, as a woman, certain decisions were not hers to make. She was pressured by her family to marry into a prosperous farm family who had relocated to the wilds of the Saint Lawrence river valley, and abandon her affections for a young man who, although educated, had no land or money.
AN EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY WOMAN begins with chapters of introductory research done by Susan M. Ouellette, Professor of History and American Studies At Saint Michael's College, followed by the transcript of the actual journal. This is a truly fascinating education into what life was really like two hundred years ago right where we live today.
HALF WILD is a new collection of short stories by Robin MacArthur, a very promising young writer from Vermont. These are not glimpses of country life as seen in the glossy magazines. Life is hard and unforgiving for the people of the aging hill farms and woods. The flood-tilted house on the cover hints at the fates of those who have chosen to scratch out a life in a beautiful but harsh seclusion. Once back-to-the-land hippies are now aging parents who need the help of their adolescent children, while those kids are trying to make sense of their own lives in the face of the dubious choices of the previous generation. Broken down cars, old house trailers, dusty barns full of old tools, country music on pickup truck radios, oily chainsaws - the scenery of life. The real power in these stories is the depth of emotion and personality. Her characters are intimately alive and real. Here's your chance to discover a Vermont writer at the beginning of what I hope is a prolific career.
Like Jim Kinneson author Howard Frank Mosher is chronicling the history of his Northeast Kingdom home. GOD’S COUNTRY is a novel, but based on real people like the Rev Dr Pliny Templeton - who much resembles Alexander Twilight, and real events like Rogers’ Raid. Young Jim Kinneson is recognized from an early age to be fated to write the history of this wild county, and so must solve the mysteries of deaths and disappearances and secrets of generations. It’s all here - wars and love affairs, race and labor relations, hunting and fishing, baseball and basketball. It’s a grand epic of a magical place, and, like all of Howard Frank Mosher’s books, a wonderful tribute to the land he loves.
Peter May's newest book ENTRY ISLAND jumps the Atlantic to Canada's equivalent of Ellis Island far out in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Montreal detective Sime MacKenzie is sent to this remote outpost to investigate a murder and is drawn into the mystery of his own ancestry. As with the LEWIS TRILOGY the stark land and the history of its rugged people create a fascinating drama.
Moses Sweetland is the last holdout on the tiny Newfoundland island which bears his family name. Time has ravaged a traditional way of life and, hard as it is, Moses can't leave it all behind. Beautifully written, sad and funny, Crummey's tale is like a ballad to the past of a man and a place.
Vermonter Jeffrey Lent's latest novel A SLANT OF LIGHT is so masterfully written that each page is like a beautiful painting. Returning from the Civil War to his farm in Northern New York Malcolm Hopeton finds his farm and life betrayed. Author Jim Harrison describes Lent as " ...a premier stylist in the current American novel." He is truly an amazing writer at the top of his career, and even the smallest details are like gems.
For the serious deer hunter in your life Vermonter Larry Benoit's classic HOW TO BAG THE BIGGEST BUCK OF YOUR LIFE is again available. Since it was first published over 40 years ago it has been the bible of hunting in New England, and is illustrated with photos by the legendary Peter Miller.
For many Vermonters firewood is much more than a way to keep the pipes from freezing. A hobby, a chore, an excuse to get outside, and great exercise, we all have our own methods. The Scandinavians have been doing it for many generations and they have it down to a science. From the tools to the wood species, the stacking styles, and the woodstoves this is a colorful and informative look at the way they heat their homes. This is a great gift for the woodchuck in your life.