“Gounded by Granite” is a nostalgic look at family summers by the lake

Title: Grounded by Granite: A Memoir
Author: Patti Shales Lefko
Publisher: Loon Island Press
ISBN-10: 1999229827

Award-winning author Patti Shales Lefko’s latest book, Grounded by Granite, is a coming-of-age tale of family connection and personal resilience framed by post-war summers on a remote island in the Canadian shield.

The memoir is ideally suited for a Muskoka chair at the cottage. It will transport you to that idealic time during childhood when summer vacation was a family affair. Journalist and officer of the Order of Canada, Roy Macgregor, says the book is “perfect for the cottage bookshelf.”

Grounded by Granite follows author Patti Shales Lefkos’s first book Nepal one day at a Time which details her solo trip volunteering in and exploring the remote Himalayan country. Her new book explores childhood summers spent at the family cottage near Frontenac Provincial Park on a giant granite slab called Loon Island.

A nostalgic trip, the book looks at the simpler times before iPads, cellphones, and television. A time when the cottage was truly an escape to the great outdoors; a remote respite from the pressures of the world.

Loon Island brought the Shales family together and taught them the importance of family while partaking in the magnificence of the Canadian shield. Shales Lefko’s parents met during their post-secondary education and honeymooned on the island, which had no cabin at the time. The island was purchased by her grandfather the old-fashioned way, by handshake. The Department of Lands and Forest came knocking one day, unconvinced of this transaction. 

Every summer, the Toronto-area family would pile into the car with their dog and head to Loon Island for their vacation. The Draper Lake area was home to much of the extended Shales family. Those no longer residing in the area also returned yearly to vacation on the various islands adjacent to the ancestral family homestead (1873) and farm.

Older readers will love the nostalgia: from the simple things like how food was prepared on the island to the games children would play when electricity was limited and the swimming that kept the cottage kids busy for days on end. It also reminds us of things that would be incomprehensible today, like spraying children down with DDT in their pajamas before bed.

Shales Lefkos’s book delves into her memories from childhood and paints a vivid picture of a simpler time in our past. Her writings are in deep contrast with our fast-paced world, where the family cottage is equipped with WiFi and escape from the modern world is nearly impossible. Shales Lefkos reminds us of what is truly meaningful in life; family.

Patti Shales Lefkos considers her summers at Loon Island near Perth, Ontario, a formative time of her life. Her joyous childhood, filled with happy memories, enabled her to become the outgoing person who traveled solo to Nepal and embarked on a journey of a lifetime.

Grounded By Granite is available on Amazon and will be available in-store on April 19, 2023.

Profits from the book will be donated to the BC non-profit Nepal One Day at a Time Society, an organization that continues to support the country’s recovery following the deadly 2015 earthquake that killed nearly 9000 people and flattened entire villages.