A Memoir in Letters by Penelope Forrest covers the Phelps family who originated in Gloucester England. She follows them through the generations, piecing together the puzzle of these wonderful ancestors who have provided her with more than just meat on the bones for her family tree. When Penelope started transcribing letters by her ancestors she unravelled a wealth of information about her family’s past.
Story telling at its best
The narrative description in the book provides wonderful accounts of family’s life and culture in England, Madeira and South Africa, through family events, war, love and hope. Penelope captures the reality of life, enchantment and pleasure that drive long-distance family relationships to survive and the breathless excitement that comes with the arrival of each new letter
Why I love this book
A Memoir in Letters makes fascinating reading for anyone who has delved into their family history. It makes me want to bring out that box of family memoirs and do exactly the same before it is too late. This book which spans 7 generations also includes beautiful family photos, images of original letters and family trees for William and Elizabeth Phelps, Joseph and Elizabeth Phelps, John Lake and Harriet Crompton, Mary and Edward Pennefather, Cecilia and Hamilton Baynes, Harriet and Alfred Lloyd, Eustace and Constance Crompton, Godfrey and Hildegard Crompton. Extract of a letter by Joseph Phelps born 1879 writing to his sister Harriet on 10th November 1899.
“What an awful experience that was on the train from Johannisburg! (sic) There is no doubt that the Boers looked upon the English as “white niggers” They are going to have a rude (but righteous) awakening. I suppose Kruger thought his invasion of Natal was going to be a walk-over. He has probably learnt some wisdom already & is going to learn more. We are full of admiration for the gallant stand that Sir G. White is making in Ladysmith. I suppose Bede is shut up there with his Carbineer’s, but hope that they will not have to wait long before being relieved.” This book is privately published by Peneleope Forrest