The new offering from Strathearn author Jess Smith is out now. Way of the Wanderers is another gem from the gifted storyteller who already has five highly enjoyable books under her belt.
More than six years in the making, Jess’s latest title is slightly different to her other books. It is a gritty quest for the truth about Scotland’s travelling folk that has taken her on a personal journey of discovery through the tales, songs and culture of the “pilgrims of the mist”, who preferred freedom to security and a campfire under the stars to a hearth within stone walls.
However, the history that Jess has uncovered also reveals centuries of prejudice and violence by settled society against travellers, including the enforced break up of families and separate schooling.
But drawing on her own history and family’s experiences, Jess also captures the magic and rich traditions of a life lived outside conventional boundaries. The book is filled with scores of snippets of tinker tales, folklore and mythology that lighten the harsh realities faced by the tinsmiths’ descendents.
Jess was inspired to write the book by her father and spent many hours uncovering ancient documents and pouring over old books in her research, which unearthed stories of discrimination including tinker children being taken out of camps and sent to Australia.