Friday, October 9, 2020

The Romanichal in A BRIDE FOR HEDDWYN by Jacqui Nelson

Welcome to Songbird Junction

My newest book, A Bride for Heddwyn (Songbird Junction, book 2), is finally here! 

And today is the last day to snag this story along with 3 more of mine—A Bride for Brynmor (Songbird Junction, book 1), Robyn: A Christmas Bride, and The Calling Birds—for just $0.99 each. Or you can read them for free with Kindle Unlimited. 

Join the Peregrines, Llewellyns & Songbirds

Heddwyn Llewellyn and Oriole's story was fun to write for many reasons. One was the Rominchal and a wagon they sold to Oriole in exchange for her help cleansing a spiritual link to one of their dead. They are (or at least their headman is) also hoping to secure a union with Oriole (who is a talented musician). 

Two "jumping the broom" marriages happen, but they aren't the ones the Romanichal were suspecting. But wait—who are the Romanichal? 

Romanichal History in Britain and America

  • The Roma or Romani people were often called Gypsies or Gipsies, which can be a derogatory word with connotations of illegality and irregularity.
  • The word Romanichal is derived from Romani chal.
  • Chal is the Anglo-Romani word for fellow.
  • Under anti-Romani laws, many of the Romanichal were harassed or killed or transported to Newfoundland, the West Indies, and European countries—who eventually forced the Romanichal's transport to other places like the United States. 
  • Those deported often did not survive as an ethnic group because their social fabric was destroyed after their separation from their families, their long sea passages, and their resettlements. 
  • Some estimate that there are now more people of Romanichal descent in America than in Britain. 

Romanichal Marriages

  • Marrying a non-Roma was usually taboo but some Romanichal defied this dictate. 
  • Jumping the broom is a phrase and custom relating to a wedding ceremony (often associated with the Romanichal especially in Wales) where the couple jumps over a broom. It was popularized during the introduction of civil marriage in Britain with the Marriage Act 1836.

Romanichal Wagons

  • A vardo or living wagon is a traditional horse-drawn wagon used by Romanichal Travelers as their home. They include a small cast-iron cooking stove and were often intricately carved and brightly painted. Today these carvings and paintings are seen as a cultural highpoint of artistic design and a masterpiece of woodcrafters art. 

Romanichal Superstitions 

  • Some Romanichal believe in ghosts.  
  • To cleanse the link between the living and the dead, property belonging to the deceased (including their wagon homes) might need to be destroyed by burning in a ritual cleansing. 

All of the above led to a lot of complications for Oriole and Heddwyn. But wait—who are Heddwyn and Oriole? 

A Bride for Heddwyn's Book Blurb

Secrets are everywhere…

From the moment she met her sisters in a Qu’Appelle Valley orphanage, Oriole has rewritten her past to protect her present. Now Lark is married, Wren is lost, and Oriole is on a mission to find Wren before their cruel and controlling troupe manager does. In order to succeed, she must cling to her lies and evade the only man she ever let come close, the fast-talking Llewellyn brother who deserted her without a word. 

Second chances are few…

From the moment he first heard Oriole sing with her sisters in a Cheyenne saloon, notoriously scatterbrained Heddwyn Llewellyn’s desire to change gained focus. Until tragedy struck. To protect his brothers and sister, Heddwyn turned his back on love and the only woman who’d ever riveted his attention—all while refusing to talk to him. Now, after two years apart, Oriole’s finally back in his life and so is a shot at redemption.

The Songbird Sisters’ quest for freedom may have reunited Oriole and Heddwyn, but it’s also tearing them apart. Her sadistic troupe manager is more than happy to maim and murder to get his money-making musicians back. Can two hearts always on the run finally stand still long enough to save each other and their love too?

A Bride for Heddwyn's Opening Excerpt

If you haven't read the opening of A Bride for Heddwyn, visit my WEBSITE or head to AMAZON to check out both this book and book 1 in my Songbird Junction series—where Welsh meets West in 1878.  

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Julie Lence said...

Congrats, Jacqui! Sounds like a very interesting read.

Andrea Downing said...

Wow, Jacqui, this is certainly a departure from the norm! And you've brought back memories of the horse fairs up in Appleby-in-Westmorland (now Cumbria) where I have friends--the Romanys (I haven't seen it spelt with an 'i')run the annual event.Good luck with your book!

Jacqui Nelson said...

Thanks, Julie and Andrea! What a treat that'd be to see the Appleby horse fairs, Andrea!

chairman 6 said...

You never disappoint, Jacqui.! Another great story,bringing back wonderful and cherished memories.