Stranger than fic­tion

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - -- Richard Mahoney

“On Do­min­ion Day 1911, a sin­gle bul­let fired by Far­quhar McRae took the life of a young Scots­man. The event shocked the whole Glen­garry com­mu­nity in Eastern On­tario and ul­ti­mately re­ver­ber­ated through­out Canada.”

So be­gins Mist Of Tears, the Life and Times Of Mary McRae and Charles Magee.

Set in Bridge End, Roger Clark’s strangerth­an-fic­tion story of love, hate, mur­der and ab­duc­tion is the cul­mi­na­tion of ten years of re­search by the re­tired Ot­tawa res­i­dent.

Mr. Clark is mar­ried to Pat McRae, a de­scen­dent of the “re­mark­able fam­ily” who be­came in­fa­mous when Far­quhar McRae killed Wil­liam Shaw dur­ing a kid­nap­ping at­tempt.

Try­ing to bring more clar­ity to this “pro­found and com­pli­cated fam­ily tragedy,” the 100-page book “brings to life the hopes and tragedies of two On­tario fam­i­lies,” says Mr. Clark.

“This is the true story of two peo­ple whose des­tinies be­come in­ex­tri­ca­bly en­tan­gled and whose fates are de­ter­mined by their strong char­ac­ters, as well as by the pow­er­ful so­cial and cul­tural forces that sur­round them,” the blurb reads. “Mary McRae was born into a staunchly Catholic farm­ing fam­ily in Glen­garry County, with proud Scot­tish roots go­ing back hun­dreds of years. Charles Magee was of Ir­ish stock and he, too, was born into a farm­ing fam­ily in North Gower, close to Ot­tawa. His fam­ily was staunchly Protes­tant.”

“Mary be­came a nurse, Charles be­came a doc­tor, and their paths crossed, lead­ing to their mar­riage and the birth of their son. Dur­ing the early years of the 20th cen­tury, the Catholic Church was adamant that 'mixed mar­riages' were il­le­git­i­mate un­less the chil­dren were raised with Catholic val­ues and prac­tices. The pa­pal de­cree, Ne Te­mere, was pro­claimed in 1908, the year that Charles and Mary were mar­ried.”

“To make mat­ters worse, Charles proved to be a vi­o­lent and abu­sive hus­band. Mist of Tears tells how Mary es­capes back to her home in Glen Ne­vis, how Charles or­ga­nizes a raid­ing party in an at­tempt to re­cover his baby son, how Mary's un­cle, Far­quhar McRae, shoots and kills one of the group and is sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment. The fol­low­ing year, baby Char­lie is kid­napped, and Charles has an af­fair with a mys­te­ri­ous Hun­gar­ian woman. We fol­low the lives of Charles, Mary, and Char­lie through the Great War and beyond, as they take their own paths, seek­ing the hap­pi­ness they failed to find to­gether.”

A for­mer Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional Canada, Roger Clark earned the Or­der of Canada in 2001 in recog­ni­tion of his hu­man rights work.

The book was self-pub­lished via Kin­dle Di­rect Pub­lish­ing (KDP) and is avail­able from Ama­zon.

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