Troubador Mrs McKeiver's Secrets

Released: 01/11/2012

ISBN: 9781780882604

Format: Paperback

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Mrs McKeiver's Secrets


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?

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.

My Little Book Blog

Writing Magazine

This book appears to have been well researched and has a great feel of the time. There is an awful lot going on in it. One minute it reads like a social history textbook, the next like an antique vetinary manual, the next like an epic war novel. It is bound together by blood and gore. Definitely one for readers with strong stomachs who want to immerse themselves in the darker side of eighteenth century life.

by Donna

This book is about people in an English village after an Enclosure Act in 1795 left them without common land and consequently impoverished. Mrs McKeiver is the village midwife and herbalist whose son has been disabled by polio. She does her best to alleviate the suffering of people (especially women) in the community. The everyday lives of the villagers are closely observed, particularly what they ate and the efforts they make to survive in such a harsh environment. I knew little about this period of our history but the author has clearly done a great deal of research on it and the result is both entertaining and informative.

by Eileen Bragg

 Margaret Morgan

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 in a beautiful area, looking out over the Down Bottom field, towards the Clee Hill and the town of Ludlow. In common with many farms in the ‘Fifties,’ it was not modernised. We had a two seater toilet ‘around the corner,’ and a pump for water, in the cobbled yard. The lamp was never lit until after tea, I remember; two kitchen candles sufficing. If ponds dried up, the Leintwardine Fire Brigade brought us water for the stock; which was taken to their fields the next day. Water, throughout the year, was usually not a problem, on the wet Welsh border. Over the years, electricity, plumbing and water were installed and the twentieth century arrived.

After various local schools, I qualified as a PE teacher and taught first in Bournemouth. Subsequently, I taught EFL, ESN, and lastly Junior children; both in England and Overseas.

Of course, life rarely does what you expect. Since the late seventies I had been aware of, ‘something very wrong,’ although I could not convince the medical profession. After years of excruciating head pain, I was diagnosed with MS in 1995. I taught until 2002, in London, but eventually was forced to retire, being unable to walk any distance.

Since then, I have been researching and writing Mrs McKeiver’s Secrets. At present it is being readied for publishing. I am living again in Bournemouth; running a Writers’ Group, and ‘getting out there,’ with my husband’s driving help; a walking stick, a wheelchair or a zippy mobility scooter.

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