I am now the proud mama – oops, AUTHOR – of four published books. As of today, my latest book, A Newfound Land is available “everywhere where good books are sold”. (I rather like that. It also makes me wonder where the bad books are sold. More to the point, it makes me consider what a bad book might be. My mother, whose avid love of literature and very broad taste introduced me to a very varied book diet, would argue there are no bad books. Well, unless the language in them is bad, bad being sloppy, full of unintentional grammatical errors and repetitive. Well: neither here nor there…)
A Newfound Land is set in Maryland, the colony that was first in world history to implement religious tolerance back in the 17th century. Why there? Well, because Matthew Graham has need of a new home for himself and his numerous family, what with him being persecuted for his faith back in Scotland. It’s not always easy to hold on to your convictions, and Matthew and Alex, his wife, have paid quite the price for Matthew’s stubborn refusal to bend his knee before Charles II and his Anglican Church. Whatever; new horizons beckon, a new life can be set in motion. But can it? Is anyone ever free of his/her past? I can assure you Matthew Graham has quite the nasty surprise waiting for him, and as for Alex…. phew!
Ultimately, A Newfound Land is about people brave enough to tear up their roots and start anew. Matthew and Alex represent thousands upon thousands of real people who were forced to leave the familiar surroundings of their homeland and start from scratch on a new continent. As you’ve probably noted in some of my previous posts (like here, or here), I am in awe of those early globetrotters and settlers. They knew NOTHING of what they were going to, and still they went. Hopeful but frightened, clutching their precious possessions to their chests they set off to build a brave new world, knowing all the time that they would never return.
The Welsh speak of hiraeth, the nostalgically tinged longing for a lost home. Matthew Graham has never heard of hiraeth, but I can assure you he knows exactly what it meant. In his heart, Scotland is forever engraved as home, a home now permanently lost to him. And yet he perseveres, swallowing back on the paralyzing homesickness to get on with his life. That takes guts. It helps, of course, that he had Alex by his side, to support him and hold him. Or maybe it is him supporting her. A man and his woman, facing whatever life throws their way. Together. Always together.