Family Secrets … or Why You Don’t Burn Letters and Photographs

Nancy Watts
Fiction Librarian

Want to know what Steampunk is? See the new Library display to learn more.

Photo courtesy of LaVonne Limpus-Jurack

On Aug. 27, 2008, Catherine Bailey began researching the archives of the Ninth Duke of Rutland at Belvoir. She intended to write a book about this little corner of England during World War I. The archives included household account ledgers and correspondents dating back to the 11th century, when the Manners family first came to Belvoir. As an aid to researchers, the Ninth  Duke had compiled a book that gave examples of the handwriting for every member of the Manners family since the 1540s.

When Catherine Bailey dived into this wealth and abundance of documents, what caught her attention?  It was the letters and dates of documents that weren’t there. Instead of the book she was going to write, she wrote “The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret.” If you enjoy “Downton Abbey” and the history of that period in England, you should read this book.

“Carrying Albert Home: the Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator,” a novel by Homer Hickam, is another example of family stories and secrets. Homer Hickam, in the oral tradition of his West Virginia roots, spins this story of a journey and a quest. It reads like you are watching a movie, and even though he says it’s a novel, I believe it’s all true and really happened. You will have to read it to find out how John Steinbeck came up with the title, “The Grapes of Wrath.” It reminds me of “Big Fish,” by Daniel Wallace, which they did make into a movie. Enjoyable reading for the end of summer season, these books will keep you turning the pages.

Speaking of family photographs did you see the one posted on our Facebook account of the children in the goat cart dated 1917? Does anyone out there have a goat cart photo in their family archives? We are looking for information about the family in our photo, or the traveling photographer and his goat. Contact the library if you have a photo of kids in a goat cart, or any information about such a photo.    


New to Fiction and Mixed MediaNew Fiction – books:

“Smooth Operator” by Stuart Woods; “The Girls” by Emma Cline; “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware 

New DVDs:

“Wallander – season 4”; “The Way Back” (with Jim Sturgess and Colin Farrell)”; “21” (with Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey)

New Audiobooks on CD:

“The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer; “True Blue” by David Baldacci; “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu.


Library Board of Directors to meet

The Board of Directors will  meet Thursday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room.


The Book Station

The Book Station will hold a big Chokecherry Book Sale on Sept. 10. Join us to say thank you to Jim Dullenty and Floss Kettering, who are retiring as area “collectibles” experts.

The next normal Book Station sale will be Sept. 14 from 2-4 p.m. 


Where is your favorite place to go camping in Central Montana?