Lynne Golding never had the burning desire to become a writer. But that didn’t stop her from writing a best-selling historical fiction trilogy based in her hometown of Brampton with a protagonist who personified her great-aunt’s life.
That’s a far cry from her work as a senior partner at an international law firm, where she leads the health law practice group. But Golding had an important story to tell. “The Mending” is the last part of the “under the alderstrilogy and is slated for release on May 4.
The series’ plot begins in 1907 and revolves around Jessie Stephens and her family in the changing landscape of Brampton. With “The Mending” set from 1918 to 1932, the protagonist seeks to return to life as it was before the war, leaving Brampton to attend the University of Toronto.
The books reflect the town’s rich history and the life of Golding’s great aunt, also named Jessie, who lived to be 108 years old.
“She was a very impressive woman,” Golding recalled. “She went to Victoria College, then became a professor at U of T and dean of a science program. He was an incredibly curious person.
His great-aunt married later in life and never had children, so Golding became a surrogate grandchild. When she also attended Victoria College at the University of Toronto, she said her great-aunt “took her under her wing.”
Later, when her great-aunt turned 100 and moved into a long-term care home in Brampton, Golding made weekly visits and heard stories about her long life. Writing all the stories down, as an official personal file, Golding began to think about turning his stories into a book.
“I never told her she would be the protagonist; she was very modest and would not have allowed me to do that. That being said, she’s not haunting me, so I think she’s okay with how it turned out.
While the majority of “Beneath the Alders” revolves around her great-aunt, Golding has done substantial research to fully develop the protagonist’s saga backdrop, adding the historical details that make Brampton what it is. is today.
Golding explained that Brampton was the capital of the early Methodist Church in Canada and how the two men considered to be the town’s founders later built St. Paul’s Church.
“They had this Protestant work ethic and believed in reading the Bible…it was an educated workforce,” Golding explained. “Even though they didn’t drink or dance, they allowed sports. These are key findings, as there is a sporting heritage here in Brampton and it was one of the first communities in Ontario to offer free public education.
Golding concludes her trilogy by setting the final chapter in 2003, when Jessie turns 100, detailing the “incredible things she has done in her life”.
And it was a perfect way to end the Brampton story, because “Brampton in 2003 is so different from Brampton in 1903 or 1931,” Golding added.
“It was a great way to introduce the more modern Brampton into the story,” she said. “Now I look back and it’s kind of bittersweet. I’m glad it’s done, but these characters become your friends. I’ve come a long way with these characters and spent hours think about what they would do and say.
Now, Golding discusses his trilogy at book clubs, historical organizations, and historic sites, with people often commenting that they’re learning a new story from the series. But she also receives messages from people outside of Brampton, telling her that the story is one that resonates in Canadian communities east or west.
“It’s a Canadian story, it’s not just a story about Brampton,” Golding said. “I got a note last week saying, ‘I fell in love with Brampton’ and she’s not even from Brampton! I like this.”