Local Author Remembers Old Wrexham. Acton’s very own David Ebsworth’s has published his new book: Wicked Mistress Yale, The Parting Glass. It’s David’s ninth novel and the third part of his Yale Trilogy, which tells the story of Wrexham celebrity, Elihu Yale, but through the eyes of his wife, Catherine.
His work won praise from other historical fiction authors like Barbara Erskine (‘The Ghost Tree’ and ‘Lady of Hay’). She says that the trilogy is “brilliant, packed with fascinating detail and a wonderful evocation of the period.”
Left With Nothing!
David Ebsworth says; “I’m a great fan of Barbara Erskine too and it was fabulous that she enjoyed it so much. I loved writing this trilogy. I guess everybody knows at least a bit about Elihu Yale. Most famously, of course, he gave his name to Yale University and had a reputation as a philanthropist and collector. He’d also been a governor for the East India Company and overseen the trade in slaves from India during the 1680s. David married Catherine and when he died in 1721, he left her only the words ‘To my wicked wife…’ and nothing else, no bequest, not a penny.”
The first part of the trilogy, tells the story of; Catherine’s first marriage and her life in old Madras, the death of her husband, her marriage to Elihu and the intrigue and peril at this early East India Company outpost. The second sees her back in London, alone except for her seven children, and embroiled in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution.
“But this third part,” says David, “tells how Elihu Yale returns home too, somewhat in disgrace, determined to break Catherine’s independence and living mainly at the home he’d inherited here in Wrexham at Plas Grono, now part of the Erddig Estate. It gave me an excuse to also tell the story of the Wrexham riots in 1715, again from Catherine’s viewpoint since, in the novels, she also acts as a government spy. These were part of the Church-and-King riots in which High Church Anglicans viciously attacked dissenters like the Quakers, Baptists and Presbyterians. It was great fun recreating Wrexham as it might have looked in 1715.”
David also enjoyed bringing Catherine back to Wrexham for the novel’s finale: Elihu Yale’s burial in 1721 in the churchyard at St Giles Church where, of course, you can still find his tomb. It’s a finale with lots of twists, however, and the reason for Yale branding her a ‘wicked wife’ is revealed at last. So, no spoilers here!
Wicked Mistress Yale, The Parting Glass is published by SilverWood Books and is available at your local library, all good bookstores, including Waterstones, or through Amazon. Part one of the trilogy – The Doubtful Diaries of Wicked Mistress Yale and part two Mistress Yale’s Diaries, The Glorious Return.
David Ebsworth is the pen name of Liverpool-born Dave McCall, who’s lived in Acton, Wrexham, since 1981 and is heavily involved in Wrexham’s literary festival, the Carnival of Words.
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