musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Monday, January 01, 2018

books of 2017...

Happy New Year and welcome to my seventh annual New Year's Day book list. I almost made it to one hundred books in 2017... but not quite. According to Goodreads, I missed the big number by four. 

My five-star reads were a mix of mystery, historical fiction, and non-fiction and if there's an overarching theme, it must be books with a French connection. I binged on first two Brittany Mysteries (Commissaire Dupin) by Jean-Luc Bannalec and can't wait for April to get my hands on The Fleur de Sel Murders, book three in this terrific series that is slowly (too slowly!) being translated from the original German. That led me to Martin Walker's Bruno, Chief of Police mysteries - highly recommended for the settings and food alone. Closer to home, Janet Kellough's Thaddeus Lewis series is a step back in time to pre-Confederation Ontario - engrossing history in clever mysteries. 

2017 five-star reads, in no particular order:

If you'd like to see all ninety-six books, hop on over to my 2017 Goodreads Challenge round-up page and browse around. 

So... what were your best books of the year? Do we have any titles in common?

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

introducing Fast Focus...

Are you ever nostalgic for the "good old days" before cell phones and digital-everything? Why not give Fast Focus a try? A retro caper set in Manhattan in the late 1990s, it's got romance, mystery, quirky characters, and a big, lovable dog. G-rated and a perfect holiday read.


Fast Focus by Cheryl Cooke Harrington and Anne Norman is available in hardcover, paperback, and for your Kindle. Find it on Amazon(Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Green Gables

This is a summer of celebration in Canada – we're 150 years old – so it seemed like a great time to hit the road with my friend Kate and discover new-to-us places in this great country. Our ultimate destination: Iles de la Madeleine, a remote and breathtakingly beautiful archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, five hours by boat from Prince Edward Island. But with so much to see along the way, expect a post or two before we get there.

Our travels took us through Montreal, Quebec City, and Rivière-du-Loup in Quebec; Miramichi and Shediac in New Brunswick; and then across the spectacular Confederation Bridge to lovely Prince Edward Island – famous for its rich red soil, excellent potatoes and, of course, that little red-haired girl known around the world: Anne of Green Gables.

Confederation Bridge, at 12.9 km (8 miles) it's the
longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. 

Beautiful Prince Edward Island 

We spent three days on Prince Edward Island, enjoying the scenery, red sand beaches, and some of the best fish and chips I have ever eaten. From the window of our ocean-view room in Summerside, we were delighted by the sight of tall ships entering the harbour, part of a Canada 150 celebration tour.

Tall ship approaching Summerside PEI

This trip was a second visit to PEI for me and also for Kate. Our first times were many years ago and we both traveled with husbands who had no interest whatsoever in anything Anne-related. This time, we vowed to see it all, beginning with a drive-by photo op of the little house in New London where author Lucy Maud Montgomery was born. 

Birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery in New London, PEI

From there, we headed to Silver Bush – the lovely farm where Lucy Maud spent summers with her cousins, the Campbells. Members of the Campbell family have owned the farm since 1867 and now operate it as a museum. Montgomery called Silver Bush "the shining castle of my childhood" and it's easy to see why... such an incredibly pretty place.

Silver Bush, The Campbell family home since 1867.

The farm at Silver Bush, Anne's "Lake of Shining Waters" in the distance.

The parlor at Silver Bush

A bedroom at Silver Bush

Could this be Anne's Matthew Cuthbert?
No, just one of the guides, waiting to take us on a horse and buggy ride.

Molly the horse took us past the Lake of Shining Waters on our ride around the farm.

After a lovely boxed lunch on the front porch (including glasses of "awfully nice raspberry cordial") we left Silver Bush to travel the short distance to Cavendish and Green Gables – another spot much loved by author L. M. Montgomery whose cousins, the MacNeill family, were the original owners of the farm. Green Gables is now a National Historic Site and part of Prince Edward Island National Park. Kate and I spent a memorable few hours soaking up the Anne atmosphere while exploring the house and grounds (and the gift shop, of course). I brought home a copy of Anne, la maison aux pignons verts (Anne of Green Gables) which I hope to re-read and enjoy while at the same time improving my French. Time will tell.

The green gables that gave the farm its name.

Green shutters and flowering vines.

Green Gables

Windblown peonies in the Green Gables garden.

The gardens at Green Gables.

Dining room at Green Gables. The house is authentically Victorian throughout.

A little bedroom at Green Gables.

Matthew Cuthbert's hat and cane?

Best summer job ever! Interpretive staff playing Anne and her "kindred spirit" Diana.

Alas, we couldn't stay. But if I close my eyes, I'm back on Anne's island... red sand, salty breezes, and favourite stories of my childhood brought to life. Hope you enjoyed sharing the visit! Next up... lobster fishing in Shediac Bay.

Permalink: Green Gables

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

picture says it all...

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

it's hard being grebe...

Today dawned gloriously sunny in Toronto so I packed up my camera and went for a walk by the lake. We've had a lot of rain and flooding in the last month and water levels are still higher than I ever remember seeing them at Colonel Samuel Smith Park. The swans were flooded out of their traditional nesting spot in the pond and have retreated to the wooded bank. Those trees in the foreground are usually high and dry, well back from the water's edge.

Mute swans at Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto

The top of those rock walls are usually a meter above lake level

Out on the lake, the grebes are busy rebuilding after a bullying cormorant destroyed their first attempt at a nest. I hope they'll be successful this time - they're beautiful birds and diligent parents.

Red-necked Grebe on nesting platform,
Colonel Sam Smith Park, Toronto

Red-necked Grebe pair working on their nest

Grebe nest in yacht club basin at Sam Smith Park

Red-necked Grebe on patrol

One of those nasty Cormorant bullies, too close
for comfort, as a Grebe keeps watch from afar.

I heard but couldn't spot an Orchard Oriole that had a group of bird watchers all a-twitter. Spotted but couldn't photograph a lovely little Wilson's Warbler, and watched a Robin capture what I thought was a gigantic worm but turned out to be this tiny Brown Snake. The Robin eventually abandoned it on the path. Maybe his eyes were too big for his beak? High above, someone else waited to claim the prize.

Brown Snake


Back on the pond, this Mallard Duck and Red-winged Blackbird made it easy for me to photograph them, almost as if they were posing to show off their best features.

"Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

Wind-blown Blackbird

Until next time, may all your rambles be happy ones!

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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