A new beginning

I’ve been writing posts on my ‘Georgiana Molloy 1805-1843’ Facebook page since November 2013 but this is the very first new blog on the full website.  The site went live today, together with one enormous posting of all the archives and photographs from Facebook, to make sure that any new viewers don’t miss out on what’s gone before.

So… the best place to begin is an update of news.

It was a wonderful surprise to see William Yeoman’s review of the book in the West Australian (the Weekend West) on Saturday and I was left lost for words, for most of the day. We have another new stockist in Perth: the bookshop of the WA State Library. We’re going to a second print of the book, ten weeks after it first appeared in shops, not something I’d ever imagined might happen so quickly.  And thank you again to ‘Aspects of King’s Park’ for choosing the book as their ‘Book of the Month’ for May.

It’s been a whirlwind ride since the day we first decided to self-publish and I’ve been learning  new things each day but the most significant is that authors and readers benefit hugely from good bookshops that know their customers and are genuinely interested in the volumes on their shelves.

So far, I only have one problem. Spending more time than usual  in bookshops leads to buying even more books.

Feedback and reviews

Boffins Bookshop, Perth WA
Thank you for putting us in very special company on the front page of the Mother’s Day 2015 recommendations newsletter.

Viva Books, Busselton WA
What an outstanding read Bernice Barry’s new book, Georgiana Molloy, is. This is a biography on a significant historical Australian settler that should become a part of the curriculum and read by anyone who has even the remotest interest in settlement, history, significant Australians or simply an interest in the local area.

I rarely read bio’s and although I enjoy history I find most books on history fairly dry, but Bernice’s book is one of the best biographies I have read!
Highly recommended.

Collins Bookshop, Southlands WA
This is an exquisitely presented book about the outstanding life of one of Western Australia’s leading ladies. Historical narrative exposing a tale of love, drama, adventure and resilience.

The local book launch 18th April 2015

An enormous thank you to the Hon Barry House, the team at MR Bookshop, the friends who sent flowers and sponsored the wonderful wine we drank from Gralyn and Cape Mentelle (‘Georgiana’) the descendants of original Augusta settlers and the many others who travelled to join us in Margaret River. We launched a book… but it was also truly a celebration of Georgiana’s life and work. This photo captures perfectly my own experience of the event: the joy in finally signing books for readers after so many years of working towards that – and in the background, by pure coincidence, the portrait of little Georgiana holding flowers, a story I told during the launch. She was there.

Very first day on sale in a bookshop

Margaret River Bookshop, Bussell Highway MR

Cover design by Lauren Wilhelm

laurenwilhelm.com

Georgiana Molloy Bernice Barry The mind that shines cover

Erased by the passing of time

On the subject of the highs and lows of research… It’s exciting when you find the grave you’ve been looking for after a five year search. Not so exciting when you see that the family chose sandstone for the headstone, a very common choice in the Carlisle area during the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s soft and it weathers quickly. Here, the inscription (that might have revealed all) has worn down to a blurred smudge on the surface. All part of the historical fun.

Unravelling mysteries

Ten years ago I had no idea what the note on this envelope might have meant but when I saw it again recently I had learned enough about Georgiana’s mother to understand the abbreviations she used. It’s the same with handwriting. Documents can be difficult to transcribe until you become familiar with an individual hand. After a while it even becomes possible to decipher tricky words because you can predict the particular vocabulary a writer might use.

Cumbria Archive Centre D KEN 3 / 26

A 19th century mind at work

Sometimes an old document can give a strong feeling of connection with the original writer. Thinking not just about the factual evidence in the words on the paper, but also about the person who wrote those words, can create vivid pictures of an individual who lived long ago.

It’s hard to believe now, but in the 18th and early 19th centuries, knowing your exact age wasn’t essential for most people in a world where few legal things were connected to date of birth and form-filling wasn’t part of daily life. When Georgiana’s father wrote a personal note recording the date/place details of his own birth, he wanted to know exactly how old he was at the time of writing and he worked out the subtraction not in his head, but by writing it down. A few years later, he must have found the note and he did the same thing again, working out his age once again by writing a simple calculation on the back of the folded paper.

Georgiana Molloy Bernice Barry 19th century mind 2

Cumbria Archive Centre Carlisle D KEN 3/ 8