Nine Mile Creek

    The novel, Nine Mile Creek, is the story of two Independence Day odysseys; one takes
    place in 1914, the other in 1958. Two young women, MARGARET STANTON, and her
    grandmother, LILLIAN, collide in an adventure across time in the same farmhouse, the
    same town, the same amusement park. Margaret uses her vivid imagination, her
    determination, and the details of stories about the olden days to solve a mystery in the
    attic. Will she be able to help heal the wounds of her fractured family? The landscape is
    an overlay of two worlds, one of trolley cars, horses, and buggies—the other a rambling
    old farmhouse in a small mill town in the 1950s.

    Twelve year-old Margaret’s heart is broken when she has to leave the only home she’s
    ever known, her friends, her beloved AUNT MAGGIE, and move to the abandoned
    family farmhouse in the small Upstate New York town.

    She is sidetracked on her first day in NINE MILE VALLEY with a new friend and a
    mysterious treasure. They’ve uncovered a piece of antique jewelry in the forbidden
    attic, a bat-filled, dusty garret that has been out of bounds for two generations. The old
    house is filled with ghosts of her great grandparents, her grandparents—ghosts of her
    father’s childhood. She and FRANCINE embark on an adventure to solve the mystery of
    the ruby necklace—the cryptic message written on frayed notepaper referring to a
    “GREEN ROCK.” Certain there is a mystery  to be solved, they set out to find the green
    rock. Margaret enlists the help of ELEANOR, the elderly neighbor-lady who grew up on
    the farm with Margaret’s grandmother Lillian.

    Margaret convinces Francine to let neighborhood boys, Goose and Jimmy, join their
    gang; they seal their loyalty with a blood oath. They build a fort in a cutbank along the
    creek from where they stage their search for the rock and more clues. Margaret wins
    her place among the tough boys by crossing the trestle towering above Nine Mile Creek
    and finding the hidden caves deep in the woods.

    All seems to be falling into place for Margaret when she loses track of her little sister,
    LIZZY, at the Fourth of July parade and carnival. Her sister is lost, and Margaret has
    given her up for dead as night falls and fireworks fill the sky above Nine Mile Valley.

    Fearing the worst and recognizing her role in this tragedy, she understands now that all
    she really wants is her parents’ love, her sister’s safe return, and the redemption of
    their family. She has grown up on the stories, told to her by her grandparents and her
    Great Aunt Maggie, of the horse and buggy days, of life on the farm. In desperation,
    she enters the damp, dark cave alone in the middle of the night where she encounters
    a young Lillian who helps her future granddaughter come to grips with  life.

    In a parallel story, Lillian as a young girl and young woman—at the turn of the 19th
    century—is faced with her brother’s betrayal and a near-fatal barn fire on the Fourth of
    July when he is supposed to be watching the farm.

    Both Margaret and Lillian fear they have lost the love and trust of the fathers whom
    they both long to please. Their desire for freedom from Nine Mile Valley conflicts with
    their desire for their fathers’ approval. Lillian may help Margaret understand that,
    contrary to what she had thought, there’s no where else she wants to be but the farm
    on the banks of Nine Mile Creek.

    When Margaret encounters her grandmother as a young woman, deep inside the caves
    where she has gone to search for the missing Lizzy, where she has crept beyond the
    depths of her worst fears to try to find her sister before it’s too late, the truth about the
    necklace is revealed. The Rock is not what Margaret has imagined, and it’s not until its
    identity and meaning are revealed in a heartwarming surprise that Margaret's
    determination, and her keen affection for her family, mend two generations of