Last year, in need of research for my Canadian Brides novel, my husband and I drove to New Brunswick. The French border guard lady fussed at my husband for following the car in front of us too closely when we entered from Maine. I laughed; we were already in trouble.
We headed east then south into the city of Saint John where most of my story is set. Situated on the Bay of Fundy, Saint John is a beautiful mix of modern and Victorian buildings. Unfortunately, the eighteenth century buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1877. Since my novel is set in 1784-85, that would have been a boon for my research.
|View down Princess St. to Saint John's harbor|
We visited the New Brunswick Museum and spoke to a woman who was interested in my upcoming novel. She gave me her card. When we returned home, we couldn't find it. Never did.
I did mail them the pamphlets I designed for On a Story Primeval Shore.
We went to visit one of the oldest remaining houses in the city, Loyalist House built in 1817. Their website said they were open. The door was locked. We tried again later, still locked. A lovely young waitress (more on this later) told us they'd been closed for refurbishing for a year. No one knew when they'd reopen. A sign on the door might have helped.
I did get to meet Joan Hall Hovey, a suspense author in my publisher's stable of talented authors. After a tasty lunch, she graciously showed us her vintage town house with its beautiful Victorian grate. A very nice lady.
On the sunniest day, we drove up the hill to the site of Fort Howe, also important in my novel. The fort was built during the American Revolution to stop rebel marauders from harassing the communities in the area. Only a blockhouse remains of the fort.
|Author at Fort Howe's site, on the hill overlooking Saint John's harbor|
Afterwards, we sat at a restaurant on the waterfront, had a glass of wine, and talked with the waitress, a college girl, who told us about Loyalist House. A man danced in the lane in front of the restaurant. I wish we had a picture. He was quite the character. The waitress said he was harmless and did this all the time. We greeted him when we left.
I enjoyed my visit to Saint John, and Joan, and hope to return someday, especially to see the inside of Loyalist House.
All pictures above were taken by my husband, George Parkinson. (Gotta give the guy credit)
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Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the world with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania.