Ten Good Years

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About the Book

"Life is what we make it,
always has been,
always will be."

Grandma Moses
American Primative


Learn what everyday life was like for the early settlers of Bruce Mines, Ontario, Canada, in the 1880's as presented in seven original letters written during that time period, and then celebrate Christmas with a wassail recipe that Charles Dickens probably used. This recipe can be found in Ten Good Years. You can also find several other delicious, easy to make recipes (scattered throughout Ten Good Years) associated with the culture of the early Cornish and English settlers.

About the Book:

Ten Good Years, set in the Great Lakes region of Northern Ontario, Canada, documents the first ten years in the life of a newly married couple separated in age by some thirty years -- Jayne a young teacher from the U.S., and George, a retired veterinarian from Canada.

To fulfill Georgeís life-long dream of returning to a simpler way of life, they buy a large section of property located on the outskirts of the town of Bruce Mines and begin what they hope will be an idyllic existence -- only to find that fate has other plans.

While George happily struggles to repair the old farm house and cultivate the land around it, Jayne, although working by his side, struggles to cope with some deeper problems -- love and marriage, personal independence, dislike of hard work, and acceptance into a new culture and family -- all of which add an unanticipated twist to what otherwise would be an almost perfect union of marriage and place.

On the other hand, present-day Bruce Mines is possessed of a natural beauty that is as compelling to Jayne as its colorful past. And the town, unlike some of its inhabitants, does not see her nationality. Therefore, she builds a silent bond of friendship, through research and exploration, with the town, its early inhabitants, and its historical buildings, especially the old Bay View Hotel, a turn of the century Victorian mansion that is believed to be haunted. In fact, she is so impressed with what she discovers that she immediately begins to encourage a recently divorced friend, through letters, to relocate to, or buy a summer home in, Bruce Mines.

She wrote to her friend, "From where I was standing, it was easy for me to spot the Burrow girls, Frances and Bessie, their pictures had been true likenesses, and like the others they were full of life and the love of what they were doing. I watched for several minutes, then saw them glide in and glide out for their last circle. When the circle was complete, they bade their friends good-bye and took off their blades and started up the beach toward home. Their cheeks were rosy and glowing from the icy wind. Yet, they didnít appear to feel the cold. They just tossed their bare heads back and laughed with great pleasure as they drudged through the sand-- for a full five minutes I revisited the past--"

"--the whole experience was nothing more than too much reading-- I was up to my eyeballs in the spirit of the Bay View. Nothing more. But it is an experience, even though it did not frighten me, that I wonít forget anytime soon."

The letters continue, year by year, as Jayne shares her new life experiences with her friend and with the reader. Indeed, Ten Good Years, by Alice Rose Stefani, takes the reader on an intimate journey into the many and varied dimensions of the human condition that makes up everyday life -- love, hate, jealousy, greed, despair and hope.

Alice Stefani:

Alice Stefani is a retired educator, now writing full time. She lives and works in Pensacola, Florida.

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The Bay View is haunted. Yes. It is believed that the Marquess of Queensberry -- the son of Sir John Sholto, 8th Marquess of Queensberry, who wrote the first boxing rules in England in 1865 -- visits here, on a regular basis, from the beyond. He returns to walk about the house and grounds and to visit the attic. Many people have heard his footsteps and have smelled the heavy scent of lilacs, which is always present when he visits. Lilacs were his favorite flower. This scent is in the air, even in the dead of winter, if his spirit is present. And it gets even more eerie. A few individuals, who are still living in Bruce Mines today, claim that they have not only heard the Marquessí foot steps and smelled the scent of lilacs, they have also heard the sound of a baby crying with that sound coming from the attic -- an attic that has been sealed off for many years. But, Iím getting ahead of myself again, so Iíll back up.

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