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Published: 01/11/2012
ISBN: 9781780882604
eISBN: 9781780888453
Format: Paperback/eBook

About the Author

My author page is a challenge! But, I must get it ‘out there.’ I am the middle one of three daughters to Trevor and Hilda Brisbane, who farmed near Ludlow, from 1946 to around 1989. Our farm was i... read more

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Mrs McKeiver's Secrets
by Margaret Morgan

Set on Watling Street, in a fictional area of limestone hills, Mrs McKeiver’s Secrets is a microcosm of England in the late 18th century – where all the problems facing rural villages are considered. This includes the horror of landlessness, the price of food and the threat of starvation as a once settled rural community is rocked to its core by the effects of the Hills' Enclosure Act 1795.

Mrs McKeiver has lived in the Hills for twenty years. Enough time for her to be accepted as the local midwife. She treats her women with herbal remedies, of her own making, and most importantly, with love. By 1799, after two bad harvests and four years of landlessness, she manages to get more organised help for desperately poor families. As an observant midwife, she encourages the Reverend Reeves and local farmers to contribute to the provision of any meat and spare food, for those on Parish Poor Relief. The Parish House has problems of the worse kind, with a heartless overseer; its women and orphaned children needing her help. In amongst, she has to deal with two pressing problems herself. Firstly, how does she increase her paltry income? Wheat prices are rising daily and meals are becoming more difficult, even for her and, secondly, will she have to marry again, to feed herself and her crippled adult son? And if so, to whom?

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Mrs McKeiver's Solutions opens the day after the Dunton Canal Basin's Official Opening. This links the Hills with all the other canals and is a faster route for trade than pack horses. However, Mrs McKeiver has problems enough at home: a
suicidal son, pregnant women and her own wedding to plan. She doesn't know the Parish House is going to erupt around its abusive overseer. Her first worry
is her new mother and packing up her needs for an after the birth tonic.

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