Tag Archives: 1781

Ties to My Past and A Colonial Recipe for Syllabub


George ElliotOne illustrious tie to the past for me is my grandfather, seven greats back, Sir George Augustus Elliott. A British general and Governor of Gibraltar during the American Revolution, he was given the title Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, in honor of his bravery in its defense during the attack by the Spanish and French. While Sir George was giving his all for king and country, his grandson was fighting under George Washington as a commissary officer. There must have been quite a rift in that family.

Then there are the Scotch-Irish of whom I am one of the many descendants that people this land. The politically correct term is Scots-Irish, but we have always referred to ourselves as ‘Scotch.’ A colorful description of these highly vilified folks is given in an excellent Revolutionary War history, The Road to Guilford Courthouse.

‘They were belligerent, loyal, bigoted, valiant, crude and tough. The men drank hard, fought hard, and moved often. Their young women shocked sensibilities with public displays of bosoms and legs rarely seen in eighteenth century America.’ An Anglican missionary in South Carolina back country described them as ‘Ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the scum of the earth, Refuse of Mankind, and white savages.’

That’s my blood y’all, and the Scotch-Irish made all the difference in how the revolution played out. I hasten to add that my mother insists we descend from the pious noble Scots, but I suspect these others are also somewhere in my heritage.

My absorption with Colonial America encompasses  the high drama of the Revolution. Research into the Southern face of the war was partly inspired by my great-great-great grandfather, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, that is used by historians today.

This rich heritage led to further research and a deeper appreciation for those who’ve gone before us.  Some of my books are straight historicals while others include light paranormal elements (more or less) but my fascination with the past is a constant.  Historical Romance novel Enemy of the King grew out of my preoccupation with early American and the Revolution.

Being a Virginian from the Shenandoah Valley, I’m immersed in history. Nor are we far removed from historic Williamsburg, one of my most favorite places to visit.   I’ve touched on various aspects of Williamsburg in other posts and will from time to time.

A popular food that would have been served in the homes of early America is Syllabub. To quote from Colonial food in Colonial Williamsburg: “This dessert/drink tastes like fermented lemon chess pie. It has a thick portion which rises to the top of the glass. This section is eaten with a spoon, then the diner drinks the remaining wine mixture.”

For more on colonial cookery visit:http://www.foodhistory.com/foodnotes/road/cwf1/

Recipe for Syllabub from the Charleston Receipts book.  This one is reprinted from The Carolina Housewife by a lady of Charleston, Miss Sara Rutledge, daughter of Edward Rutledge the signer of the Declaration of the Independence.

To 1 quart of cream add 1/2 pint of sweet wine and 1/2 pint of Madeira, the juice of 2 lemons, a little finely powdered spice and sugar to taste. The peel of the lemon must be steeped in the wine until the flavor is extracted. Whisk all these ingredients together, and as the froth rises, take it off with a spoon, lay it upon a fine sieve. What drains from it put in your pan and whisk again.  Pour the froth into glasses.  Serves 12.  Chill.

*Nutmeg was very popular in colonial American so may be the spice referred to in the recipe.

For more on my work please visit: http://www.bethtrissel.com/

More About Beth


As Galadriel said to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, “You are a Ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone.”

To be passionate about history so that you feel it in your very essence and long to commune with the past is often to be alone. One profound way I’ve found to connect with those who’ve gone before me is through my writing.  My work reflects the heart and soul invested in each word.

Years ago, while researching family genealogy, I gained the courage to take the leap from penning non-fiction essays about rural life to plunge into writing historical romance novels set in early America. That first story, Red Bird’s Song,  written and rewritten more than any other and the book of my heart.  I recently signed for Red Bird’s Song with The Wild Rose Press.  The original manuscript, about the length of Gone With The Wind, had to be considerably reduced.  I cut, cut, cut, and reworked without cutting out the heart of the story.  The initial idea for the plot came to me in a dream on New Year’s Eve 14 years ago, a  highly propitious time to embark down a new road.  Many dreams have guided me on my way.

Raw, powerful, the colonial frontier drew me with stirring tales of the French and Indian War, Pontiac, and Lord Dunmore’s War. My ancestors had interactions with the most feared tribe of that day, the Shawnee, including family members taken captive.  Some forebears returned with tales to tell, others didn’t; no one knows what happened to them except in my imaginings.  One man captured as a child and adopted into the tribe, was later restored to his white family.   He returned to the Shawnee and then journeyed back and forth between the English and Indian world, trying to keep a foot in both.

Much of my writing features my early Scot-Irish forebears who settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and surrounding mountains, spreading into the Carolinas and Tennessee. The beauty of my valley and mountains inspires me. My extensive research has been generously aided by historians, anthropologists, archeologists, colonial reenactors and the Shawnee themselves.  Not to mention a mountain of reading.

This communion with the past is my motivation for the novels I create, not the market; I was informed early on by New York editors that I should write other settings, preferably European.  I’m thankful that at the Wild Rose Press a good story is judged according to its merits and not the perceived popularity of the time period.

So, welcome to the colonial frontier where the men fire muskets and wield tomahawks and the women are wildcats when threatened. Hear the primal howl of a wolf and the liquid spill of a mountain stream. Are those war whoops in the distance? Ever heard of bearwalking?

Daughter of the Wind is a light paranormal/historical fantasy romance with strong American historical roots. Set among the clannish Scots-Irish in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies, it’s a tale of the clash between peoples and young lovers caught in the middle. Ever influenced by my regard for Eastern Woodland Indians, I interwove mystical, Native American elements with ‘Daughter.’

A bearwalking Shawnee warrior, secrets from the past, a rugged frontiersman, gifted heroine, magical moonstone, love at first sight…DAUGHTER OF THE WIND.

Through the Fire is an adventure romance with a The Last of the Mohicans flavor and a mystical weave.  Some of the most unusual aspects of this story are based on individuals who really lived. A passionate love story set during the French and Indian War, Through the Fire has finaled in more contests than any I’ve written, including the prestigious 2008 Golden Heart®.

The French and Indian War, a Shawnee warrior, an English lady, blood vengeance, deadly pursuit, primal, powerful, passionate…THROUGH THE FIRE.

Not to neglect my fascination with gracious old homes and the high drama of the American Revolution. I have ancestors who fought and loved on both sides of that sweeping conflict. My research into the Southern face of the war was partly inspired by my great-great-great grandfather, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, that is used by historians today.  Stick around for a wild ride into Carolina Back County and the battle between Patriots and Tories. Our hero is the former and our heroine the latter.  Both of them bear names that belonged to my ancestors.

Enemy of the King , a historical romance with paranormal element, is my version of The Patriot. A big fan of Daphne Du Maurier since my teens, I was also influenced by her mystery/ghost story, Rebecca. Our Virginia home place, circa 1816, and other early homes left deep impressions on me. I’ve long harbored suspicions that those who’ve gone before us are not always entirely gone.

1780 South Carolina, spies and intrigue, a vindictive ghost, the battle of King’s Mountain, Patriots and Tories, pounding adventure, pulsing romance…ENEMY OF THE KING.

SomewhereMyLove_WRP_2024_300Which brings me back around to my first release, Somewhere My Love, a murder mystery/ghost story romance with flashbacks to early nineteenth century Virginia and Hamlet parallels.   Somewhere My Love won the 2008 Preditors &Editors Award Readers Poll for Best Romance Novel.  Most recently, it won the clash of covers contest at Embrace the Shadows blogspot.

Star-crossed lovers, flashbacks to early 18th century Virginia, ghostly, murder mystery, light paranormal romance, Gothic flavors…SOMEWHERE MY LOVE.

I am currently at work on the next in my ‘Somewhere’ series, a unique suspenseful Scottish time travel.

All three of my new releases won book of the week at Long and Short Reviews and received fabulous reviews.  Highly gratifying, but I would write them anyway.  I will always write what I love.  More recently they made the top ten Publisher’s Weekly Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009!  For more on that click on Barbara Vey.

My most recent release, not officially out until Dec. 11th, but already available as an Early Bird Special At The Wild Rose Press and at Amazon, is An American Rose Christmas, an anthology featuring six fabulous stories by American historical romance authors.  My story in this anthology is A Warrior for Christmas.

In addition to the next in my ‘Somewhere’ series, I’m writing sequels to Through the Fire and Enemy of the King.  For starters….

And this catches you up through December 2009~

For more on my work please visit www.bethtrissel.com