Release of the Devil’s Cold Dish

So excited to announce the release of my new book, The Devil’s Cold Dish, tomorrow. It is the fifth in the Will Rees series.

devils cold dish

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3 thoughts on “Release of the Devil’s Cold Dish

  1. I love your books. I lived in York County Maine in 1957-1960. I can see the woods and hills and rivers and the many rocks you describe. You simply must describe the countryside in the winter with a new true blanket of snow; it is the most apt metaphor. And I saw it as a twelve-year-old boy.

    Comment on the content of the book’s closing chapter, and the probable content of the beginning of thee next book. — A “Quaker Minister” does not mean what most people would think it means, and is probably an error here. A Quaker wedding in 1796 in Maine would probably follow the rules laid down in the British “Marriage Act of 1753”, which specified pretty much what we still do today. See ( http://qfp.quaker.org.uk/chapter/16/ for way way too much detail.)

    A small “Oversight” committee (usually four, at least one of each gender, no relatives of the couple) of the Monthly Meeting would advise the couple on what they intended to do. The man would explain to the “Women’s Meeting for Business” why he should be acceptable as a husband for this woman; and the Woman would explain to the “Men’s Meeting for Business” why she would be acceptable as a wife for this man. (OK, we don’t do that any more, we just talk with the Oversight committee. But they would have done this in 1796.) A notice would be posted, and essentially the whole world invited. There would be a “silent” meeting. At some point the couple would stand and face each other and repeat from memory their declarations (you would call them vows — we don’t because we don’t take vows or oaths.) The couple would then sign the certificate (Another too long explanation, visit the Swarthmore library to see a few hundred of them. A great resource for all things historical Quaker.) Then the couple’s family and friends may rise (one at a time, as they are so moved) and say the kindest, funniest, and most moving things about their experiences with either or both persons. When the Oversight committee feels the meeting is done, they shake hands with each other and with the couple. (This is now usually after an hour, I think it may have been more like two hours in 1796.) Everybody present shakes hands and then signs the certificate as witnesses. Even the children sign, if they have a stable signature. Now they are married, so let’s go to the reception. (I know nothing about receptions in Maine in 1796.)

    I can’t wait for the next book. I hope you can visit and describe other great places in New England.

    Best wishes to you and “Will”.

    • Hi Warren
      Thank you for your reply. I certainly learned a few things.
      Just for clarification, the Rees family are not Quakers. Lydia was a Shaker – a celibate and more evangelical branch of the Quakers, while Rees was raised as an Anglican. My other choice was Congregationalist since that was the other big Protestant group at that time.
      You have made the Quakers sound just as fascinating. Thank you.
      Eleanor

      • Thank you for your very prompt response to my message.

        I apparently was not as clear as I had intended. In chapter 32, David said, “we … will be married at their [the Bristols’] farm by a Quaker minister.” That sentence is the only thing I was trying to discuss.

        Quaker ministers do not marry people. The spread the word of the concerns they believe the Lord has told them to spread. That is pretty much all of it. Please see any reference to John Woolman [1720-72], for example.

        We can write this off as a misunderstanding by David; he is new to Quaker behavior. Mr and Mrs Bristol would insist that Abigail marry, that is true. They would accept an Anglican wedding, but that may taint their daughter in the eyes of some of the pricklier Quakers, and she may be asked to leave her faith. [The phrase is “read out of meeting”, where “read” is in the past tense, as it is a fait acompli.]

        David and Abigail could jointly agree to a Quaker wedding; that was fully legal in Massachusetts, and thus Maine. But it would not be by a minister, but rather be by themselves with the guidance and support of the Oversight committee as I described above.

        Today we would ask David to nominate one member of the committee from the non-Quaker elders that were important to him outside his immediate family. That practice must have started somewhere, perhaps in Maine in the late 1790’s. Abigail would most likely choose one as well, the last two members would probably be chosen by the Monthly Meeting (the Quaker “church”).

        That is a lot of words discussing only about 5 words in the book. I hope I have not overstayed my welcome. Quakers do have the reputation of being blunt.

        I really have enjoyed all your books, ever since we were introduced to them by a volunteer bookseller at the Old Sturbridge Village bookstore a winter ago. Thank you again for such interesting books.

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