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Publisher: Toronto: Stoddart Kids Publishing, 1995. Markham: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2013.
Cover Art: David Craig
Summary: In 1786, the realities that face newly settled United Empire Loyalist families in Canada are harsh. In the continuation of the Meyers family saga that began with the first novel Flight, Mary the central character must come to terms with danger, the survival of her family, and love.
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Sink your teeth into a good historical novel: Meyers’ Creek, by Connie Brummel Crook is about a Loyalist family that settled in what is now Belleville, Ontario in the late 1700s.
— Pippa Wysong, The Toronto Star
A gripping fictional treatment of the true-life experiences of one of Canada’s foremost families. Constance Crook has given young readers, thankfully, some heroes of our own.
— Roy Bonisteel, Author/Broadcaster.
Meyers’ Creek follows Belleville founders.
— Henry Bury, The Intelligencer, (Belleville)
[Meyers’ Creek] is aimed at the teenage reader, but older readers can enjoy it too. . . . I was fortunate enough to read this book when I was just a few short miles from the story’s location. Perhaps the highest recommendation of the book is that it prompted me to seek out Mary’s grave at White’s Cemetery. Her marker stands beside that of second husband John Row. It’s worn but readable and well worth a visit, especially after having read Connie’s book.
— Peter W. Johnson, The Loyalist Gazette.
Part One: Into a New Country
Part Two: Into the Valley
Part Three: A New Estate
“I don’t see why I can’t go, too!” Mary stepped briskly off the back stoop, tossing back her thick auburn hair. She hadn’t liked the colour until her father told her it looked like the flowing mane of a great racehorse they’d seen in Montreal. But today she wasn’t thinking about her hair. She was thinking about her father’s unfairness. He was letting her two brothers, George and Tobias, go with him to Albany while she had to stay behind to wash dishes and scrub floors.
Mary does manage to hide in the wagon until Father and the boys are a distance from home. So she goes too. As in Flight, Mary and George have adventures together, but these adventures become hardships as the family ventures farther into unsettled areas in this new land.. Such a time happens in Part Two when Mary visits her sister Catharine, just before her first child is born. Catharine’s husband has gone away on business for the night when they hear disturbing noises just outside the little stockade wall that surrounds their cabin.
Mary took the musket off the sofa and set it against the table. “Maybe we should leave it out, just in case. Listen. . . . Can you hear anything?”
They sat in silence.
“I don’t hear a thing, Mary.”
“It’s almost too quiet, now.”
Catharine laughed again. “Look. I’ll prove there’s no one out there.” She set the pie down on the table, reached for the bolt on the front door, and struggled a bit with it before she flung it back and threw the door open.
Mary ran over and pulled her sister back from the door just as a spear streaked through the doorway. Like a lightning bolt, it crashed to the floor in front of the girls.
Mary forced herself over to the door and bolted it shut. Catharine moved like a sleepwalker towards the couch and sat down trembling.
Mary blew out the candle, then took the loaded musket from the table, and paced like a cat towards the window.
“Stay back, Catharine,” Mary said. She peered through the window towards the stockade wall. The moon was shining now and Mary could see three figures coming over the stockade wall. (p. 136,37)
Much later in the story, romance enters Mary’s life, but her father does not approve of her choice. So she and her boyfriend plan an elopement when her father is away on a trip to Montreal. They travel all the way to King’s Town by canoe to find someone who is able to perform the marriage ceremony. Upon arrival there, their plans are hindered by unexpected difficulties.
The waves were rough and choppy from all the bateaux around them, so Mary kept her eyes on the water. In a few minutes, though, they had safely reached the jetty, and John placed his paddle across the canoe to steady it as he climbed onto the jetty. Squatting there, he pulled the side of the canoe over and held out his hand to Mary.
In the moment before she took John’s hand, Mary glanced up at the bateau that was passing them at a great speed, causing huge waves to wash against their canoe. Mary stared straight into the eyes of her father, who was standing at the bateau’s railing.
John Meyers stared at her, too, before his eyes shifted to John, and he shouted above all the noise of the splashing waves and voices in the harbour, “I’ll get you for this, young man! Stop the bateau!” Father was waving his musket in the air. (p. 273)
Read Meyers’ Creek for the exciting conclusion to this novel. The manuscript for the third in this saga has just been completed and will possibly be available next year.