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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

July 2017

Yankee Daughters--Synopsis and Reviews

Book of the Week
July 10- 14, 2017

Jamey Grenville was in the habit of rescuing women. He stepped up to save a Pennsylvania farm when his future wife’s parents were killed in a tragic accident. He found a new home for his unmarried sister when a horrendous earthquake drove her from the family residence in Charleston, South Carolina. And he thought he had provided the perfect safety net for his eight daughters by bringing together a mother who loved them to distraction and a doting aunt to whom they could turn when they felt like running away from home. It might even have worked—if the two women had not been so very different. 

Katerina was an outspoken Northern farm girl, whose talents ran to cooking, sewing, and taking care of everyone around her. Rebecca was a classic Southern belle, most at home surrounded by books and music. Katerina’s greatest wish for her daughters was that they all would find handsome and generous husbands who would take care of them and protect them for all of their lives. Rebecca wanted to see the girls grow up to be strong and independent women, capable of supporting themselves and playing an active role in the world around them. Katerina looked back longingly to a nineteenth century in which values were strong and safety was promised to all who followed the rules. Rebecca leaned into the new challenges of the twentieth century, believing in the promises of the future. 

The stage was set for a lifetime of clashing values worthy of the feud of the legendary Kilkenny cats, who fought until there was nothing left of either one of them. Willingly or not, the two women lived in a rapidly changing world. Transportation moved from the horse and buggy to the Model T Ford, and dirt roads became paved highways. Family farms gave way to land speculators. Politicians quit arguing about government corruption and worried about prohibition and women’s suffrage. Uncontrolled financial panics yielded to governmental regulation. Social power fell from the wealthy upper crust into the hands of the middle class, and labor unions took control from monopolies. Trains, airplanes, telegraphs, and radio waves picked up the news from around the globe and brought it into once isolated homes. Assassinations, earthquakes, revolutions, epidemics, the sinking of an unsinkable ocean liner, and a war that killed millions of men demanded their attention. 

Two women—tied irrevocably together by their love for Jamey Grenville and their devotion to his eight young daughters—battled the challenges, sometimes together, sometimes from opposite sides. But eventually those daughters grew up and spiraled away from the family center. The girls found their own husbands—a quiet schoolmaster, a coal miner, an ambitious farmer, a psychotic evangelist, a bootlegger, a stockbroker, a hardware salesman, an alcoholic newspaperman. They launched themselves on eight very different life paths, leaving their mother and their aunt at last with no one to lean on but each otherWhat Amazon reviewers wrote:

What Amazon reviewers wrote:

Tis the season to curl up on the sofa with an expansive, engrossing, family-centered read. And what better to pick up than Carolyn P. Schriber’s Yankee Daughters. The third in her trilogy of the Charleston Grenvilles, this novel finds the youngest son, Jamey, farming with his Mennonite wife in rural Pennsylvania. Maiden sister Rebecca joins him there after the devastating Charleston earthquake of 1886 makes the Grenville home-place uninhabitable.

Jamey and Katarina’s family of six daughters – all with unique personalities and interests -- find companionship and entertainment with their aunt Becca. In turn, she responds to their needs and finds a challenging career in writing for children. The occasional pages from her Journal bring a warm and intimate portrait of Jamey’s family. While Rebecca warms to her new career and models a proto-feminist view, Katarina struggles with rebellious teenage daughters. She stresses the importance of traditional marriage and housewifery, but finds such arrangements don’t always work out. In following Rebecca’s nieces, Schriber brings to life the dramatic changes that transformed American society in the early 1900s.

. . . Carolyn Schriber has done it again! With her masterful storytelling techniques and terrific research, she plunges the reader into the world she's created, taking you along for a ride into the lives and turmoil of her characters. A compelling read I had a hard time putting down!

. . . Having read with curiosity the first two books in The Grenville Trilogy, both set in South Carolina, I learned so much history of South Carolina, [Although I have lived in SC for almost 20 years, I was unaware of many of the historical events. I kept "googling" events with which I was not familiar, only to find them substantiated in fact.] I was anxious to read Yankee Daughters, set in Beaver County, Pennsylvania (another area where I have had the chance to live). The author clearly has researched the periods and geographical settings of her writing. The reader is transported in time and becomes intimately involved in the family dynamics and action.

The Kindle edition of Yankee Daughters is available for only $0.99 all this week. Order your copy here: 

Yankee Reconstructed -- A Few Recipes

Food does not play a major role in “Yankee Reconstructed,” but here a a couple of recipes from the period that Sarah and the other women from her church might have prepared for sale in Eddie and Gretchen’s Country Store.



  • 6 medium to large fresh beets, scrubbed and tops cut off
  • i large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar (real--not cider flavored)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling spice

Put beets in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough cold water to cover them with 3 inches over the top. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to maintain a slow boil. Cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.  

Pour water off and let beets cool. Slip skins off once the beets are cool enough to handle. Slice and set aside.

Place the sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices in a smaller saucpan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour this pickling liquid into a large glass jar (1.5 liter or 1/2 gallon), add the sliced beets, cover with a lid and refrigerate. Let the beets sit at least a week before tasting.

Add shelled hard boiled eggs to the mixture once the beets are ready. Try to use the eggs in 2 to 3 days. If left in the pickling liquid too long, they turn rubbery. 

Keep adding more cooked beets (and eggs) as needed. May keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months.


  • 4 pounds green bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 pounds red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 pounds green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 pounds sweet onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • One 3 1/4-pound head of green cabbage, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric


In a very large bowl, toss the bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cabbage with the salt; cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Drain the vegetables, discarding the liquid. In a large, heavy pot, bring the sugar, vinegar and water to a boil. Add the mustard seeds, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, celery seeds, ginger and turmeric and stir well. Add the drained vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the relish is thick and saucy, about 1 hour. 

    Pack the chowchow into 6 hot 1-quart canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top, and close with the lids and rings.To process, simmer the jars at 180 degrees for 30 minutes and monitor the water temperature with a thermometer.

     Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before serving, to allow the flavors to meld; store unopened for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening. Serve with any meat or sausage. Particularly good on hot dogs.

      Yankee Reconstructed will feature a 76% price reduction starting July 4 and running until 8:00 AM (PDT) on Saturday, July 8. Get your Kindle copy for only $0.99 at:

      Yankee Reconstructed -- Excerpt

      The Flicker of Torches
      October, 1867
      Jonathan breathed deeply as he stared out over the western piazza. He had always loved South Carolina sunsets. Their purple clouds swirled across a background of  gold, followed by curtains of navy blue.  Darkness settled slowly over a city that seemed to be at peace, if only for a few nighttime hours. If he had ever had doubts about the wisdom of bringing his family back to Charleston after the war, they faded away in the soft, scented air. Flowers still bloomed, even in these months of autumn, and the night birds still chirped their sleepy calls. He closed his eyes, holding the memory against whatever challenges the next day might bring. Perhaps that was what made him miss the first flicker of torches from behind him.



      “Roses got thorns,” grumbled a scratchy voice.


      The mumbled comments, added to the shuffle of boots, jerked Jonathan from his reverie. Turning from the sunset toward the other end of the piazza, he was almost blinded by blazing torches carried by indistinct figures robed in dark clothing.  He moved toward the door, which was open to catch the night breezes. He had left Susan sitting just inside that door with her tatting, and his first instinct was to protect her from whatever this invasion portended. But he was not quick enough to move back into the house.


      The challenging voice froze his movements, his hand still on the latch.  He eased the door closer to the frame as he turned to face the group of men now stomping up the gentlemen’s staircase. At the top, they stopped. “You Grenville?” the same voice asked again.

      “I’m Jonathan Grenville, yes. What do you want with me?”

      The ringleader took a single stop onto the piazza. We don’t want you. We want your nigger.”

      “There are no Negroes here.”

      “Yes? So you say. That’s not what  we heard.”

      “Who are you? Why do you come in darkness with faces covered? I am an  honest man, and I expect others to be honest as well. Identify yourselves and we can talk.”

      “Our disguises are for our own protection. There are those about who would prevent honest Southern gentlemen from doing everything they can to protect their families, their state, and their heritage. We hide our faces until we know that the people with whom we speak are not Scalawags, Carpetbaggers, Yankees, or nigger-lovers. Do you fall into any of those categories, Mr. Grenville?”

      Jonathan tried his best not to react to the question. Truth be told, he thought to himself, I probably fit into all four groups. “You are Klansmen, then.”  It was a statement, not a question.

      “Ah, you have heard of the noble Ku Klux Klan, I see. Why is a fine, upstanding Southern gentleman like yourself not one of us?”

      Jonathan refused to be baited. “I’ve heard of you, but I didn’t know you were active in South Carolina. We’ve never needed your kind of interference to manage our affairs. I repeat. What do you want with me?”

      “We’re looking for Hector Gresham. Recognize the name, do you?”

      “There’s no one else here, except for my family.We hire a woman to help with the cleaning and the children, but she goes to her own home every evening.”

      “We’re not after a maid. We want Hector Gresham. He’s a fugitive from justice, and we hear he might be heading here to seek your protection. You do know him.” It was a statement, not a question.

      “Yes, I know Mr. Gresham, but I haven’t seen him in over a year. He has never been a criminal, and he’s certainly not my . . . ‘nigger.’”

      “Used to be your slave, didn’t he? That’s what we’ve been told.”

      “Long before the war, yes. But I freed him, and he moved his family far south from here to start a new life.”

      “Sure. Moved south to cause more trouble, more likely.”

      “No, Hector’s not the type to cause trouble. Surely you have the wrong man.”

      “Didn’t you own a plantation on Edisto Island?”

      “Yes, but—”

      “And that’s where he went—to join his father-in-law in stealing your property from you.”

      “You’re wrong. His father-in-law, Thomas, purchased a piece of our land  at the end of the war, just as General Sherman’s Field Order 15 provided, and Hector went to help him turn it into a proper farm. They bought the property fairly. You have the story confused.”

      “No, you are the one who is behind the times, Grenville. South Carolina no longer recognizes anything that damnable Sherman had to say. General Howard came to Edisto last October, at the order of President Johnson and told the slaves that they had to give their land back to its former owners. In February, agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau arrived to assure the peaceful transfer of land, only to find a bunch of sullen, defiant niggers standing their ground, armed with sticks and hoes. Your fellow Thomas was one of the ringleaders, until federal troops forcibly removed the protesters. Thomas and some of his lot armed themselves and declared they would die before they surrendered their land. So some of them did.”

      A chuckle came from somewhere in the darkness. “Served them right, too, those damned niggers.”

      Jonathan felt a chill ripple across his back, and although this was a conversation he certainly did not want to have, he could not help but ask. “You say you’re looking for Hector, so he was not one of those involved in that incident?”

      “No, but that don’t say much about what’ll happen to him when we catch up with him. He’s made his own brand of trouble.”

      Another chuckle responded. “String him up, I say. Ain’t fit to live.”

      The ringleader held up a hand to quiet his followers and then turned back to Jonathan. “So you haven’t seen him?”


      “Well, keep your eyes on the lookout. He’s bound to turn up here sooner or later, and when he does . . .” The statement trailed off but left no doubt as to the threat it proffered. “We’ll be back, Grenville. We’re not through with him . . . or with you.”

      Jonathan found that he could not move as he watched this small band of trouble-makers move down the street. They kept to the shadows, and peered furtively into empty yards. And then they turned a corner and were gone. Jonathan felt the terror drain from his body, only to realize that he was trembling and sweating at the same time. I can’t let Susan see me like this, he thought. I must calm down or I will frighten her beyond reason. He drew several deep breaths and tried to stretch his muscles. 

      He froze again as another dark figure emerged from the shrubbery and climbed the stairs. This man had no torch, yet he moved sure-footed across the piazza. “You may not be ready to believe this, Mr. Grenville, but I am your friend.” He spoke in falsetto, making his voice unidentifiable.

      “Do I know you?”

      “You’ve seen me many a time. If you saw my face, you would know me.”

      “Then take off that mask and reveal yourself.”

      “I cannot do that. I took a solemn oath to keep my identity a secret from all with whom I have Klan dealings. We don’t even know the others in the Klan. That’s for our own protection. We are strangers but we move with a single purpose: to rescue the South from the horrible injustice that has been committed  against her.”

      “There was no injustice. The South started the war by seceding, and pursued it long after all hope of victory was lost. The bloodshed of those horrible years must rest on your own shoulders.”

      “This is not an argument I want to have with you. I like you. I know you to be a good man. I know how many students have profited from their time in your classroom. But I know more about you than that. You are a Yankee, born, raised, and educated in Massachusetts, of all places.”

      “I’ve never denied that.”

      “Some would call you a Carpetbagger, although I wouldn’t. Still, you came down here to make your living by teaching our  young men, although, as I recall, you lost your teaching job because you taught them some of your abolitionist views. You hoped to change our attitudes and our business practices to suit yourself. You married a young Southern belle to get your greedy hands on her inherited property.”

      “See here! I had no such . . .”

      “I know. I wouldn’t say all that, but some will, and those who do will call you Carpetbagger. Others—those who believe that you once made an honest attempt to learn the ways of the South—will label you Scalawag.”

      “Which is, according to your definition?”

      “A Scalawag is a Southerner who turns agains his own land and traditions. You have to admit that you . . .”

      “I have to admit nothing. I am a simple man only trying to live a quiet life here in my wife’s ancestral home. I am not a political creature. I vote as a civic duty but not as an outspoken advocate of one party or another. I do not meddle with such things. Why cannot you leave me alone?”

      “Because you do not yet understand the gravity of your position. And as your friend, I want to help you to do that.”
      “You have a strange  way of showing friendship.”

      “This is the only way I have. But I pray you will listen to me further. The Klansmen who were here tonight also call you a nigger-lover. The story of you freeing your slaves on the night of the Great Fire is well-known. A certain judge who helped draw up the formal emancipation papers for you now moves with us. He will speak against you, if it should ever come to that.”

      “Why should it ever come up? I have done nothing wrong, while all of you—you have invaded my property and brought threats against me and my family. You have come under cover of darkness and in disguise. I challenge you once again to stand and reveal yourself if you are so sure of the rightness of your cause.”

      “And I have told you that I will not do that. Ever. I may never have another chance to speak to you so freely. I’m risking punishment, as it is. But as I told you, I am your friend, and I would like to see you avoid further difficulty with the Klansmen. I urge you to take this warning to heart. If Hector Gresham comes to you for protection, you must turn him over to the authorities. If you do not, the Klan will come after him with a rope. And then, my friend—and then—they will come after you. Take care!” With the same light-footed step that marked his arrival, he moved down the piazza steps and was lost into the darkness.

      Still stunned by this turn of events, Jonathan moved to the door, determined only to reclaim the safety of his home. As he closed the door behind him and dropped the heavy safety bar, he heard Susan’s voice, as if from a far distance.
      She stood in the doorway to the dining room, down the hall from the twin parlors that flanked the front door. In the flickering gas light, her eyes were huge, and her hands cupped her cheeks as if to hold herself together. “Jonathan?”

      “Everything’s all right, Susan. You don’t need to fret yourself.”

      She shook her head. “No, you don’t understand. They’re here.”

      “Who’s here? That unruly mob has gone on their way. I’m sorry if you had to hear part of that, but they’re all gone now.”

      “No, not them. Him. Hector’s here—and Sarah. They’re below stairs right now. What are we going to do?”

      Yankee Reconstructed will feature a 76% price reduction starting July 4 and running until 8:00 AM (PDT) on Saturday, July 8. Get your Kindle copy for only $0.99 at:

      Yankee Reconstructed--Some Images

      By the 1870s cameras were much more available, so it's easier to find photographs of important events. Political cartoons were also popular, so we can get a good "feel" for the period.  A talented artist could convey a whole lecture about the dangers faced by freed blacks at the hands of their former owners. The three men on the right were KKK members wearing homemade masks. The visitors to the Grenville porch would have looked very much like these.

      Several scenes in Yankee Reconstructed take place at the ruins of the  Old Sheldon Church not far from Beaufort, SC. The structures are still accessible today, almost unchanged since the 1870s.

      And if you've wondered about the marsh ponies that Mary Sue and Eli were raising, they, too, are still around.  These photos were taken in near Hunting Island just a couple of years ago.

      To see more pictures --or to see photographs of the real people I used as models for my fictional characters -- please visit my Pinterest pages at: https://www.pinterest.com/roundheadlady/yankee-reconstructed-south-carolina-in-the-1870s   and  https://www.pinterest.com/roundheadlady/yankee-reconstructed-meet-the-characters/

      Yankee Reconstructed -- Inspiration

      I'm not a big fan of happy endings—at least ot the kind 0f book that ends up with “And then we all lived happily ever after.”  Bull feathers! “Happily ever after” only lasts until the roof leaks or the toilet backs up. In the case of my own books, i had readers actually complain to me about “Beyond All Price” because Nellie died in the end. Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but everyone dies eventually. 

      Readers were happier with “Damned Yankee” because it ended on a more optimistic note. The family moved back to Charleston, found the family mansion intact, and gathered around Susan’s new melodeon for a family sing-along. Ah, but I didn’t like it! I knew better.

      It’s a truism, perhaps, that most Civil War buffs don’t look beyond 1865. The war was over. The soldiers came home to their family’s welcoming arms, business could get back to normal, the slaves were free, all was right with the world. Except that it wasn’t!  The historian in me knew that the next dozen years would strain the newly reunited family of states to further crises and arguments. The Ku Klux Klan was waiting in the wings to make trouble. Political parties were torn by corruption and greed, forcing both Republicans and Democrats to reverse their beliefs and policies. Local lawlessness replaced battlefield violence, and life was no more secure than it had been in wartime.

      To make that point, I decided to write a second novel about the Grenvilles and about the curious phenomenon that we call “Reconstruction.” What a can of worms that term turned out to be.  Even now, most people cannot adequately define the term—maybe because most definitions describe a process without identifying the object being reconstructed. 

      In my own mind, I think of Reconstruction as the process of putting a fractured nation back together—finding a way to bring the states of the Confederacy back into the fold of the United States of America. Most Northerners would, I think, agree with that interpretation, but they think of it as “making the South act like the North!”  The North won the war. The victor makes the rules. Here’s what the South needs to do. 

       In the South, however, the dream has always been, “The South shall rise again.” And from the very beginning of Reconstruction, they thought they were rebuilding the old ways, restoring the privileges of the white masters and reducing the blacks to servile status once more. When one party (the reconstructers) decided what the end result should be, and the other party (those being reconstructed) expected a different outcome, trouble was sure to follow.

      That’s the real story of Reconstruction, and it makes a great topic for a novel!

      Yankee Reconstructed will feature a 76% price reduction starting July 4 and running until 8:00 AM (PDT) on Saturday, July 8. Get your Kindle copy for only $0.99 at: