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Gwen Tuinman

NOVELIST

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history

Women Grieving: Victorian and Edwardian Mourning Rules

I’ve been researching death and grieving in the early 1900s to inform the novel I’m currently writing. Death was no stranger. An article published by Berkley University, tells that just years earlier in 1830s London, England, life expectancy of middle to upper class males was 45 years. Tradesmen generally lived until 25 years, and labourers until 22 years. In working class families, 57% of children died by the age of five. With the prevalence of deaths, rituals shaped by grief helped mourners to cope with their losses.

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Preserving Heritage Barns

The view of rustic barns is one of the greatest pleasures of a countryside drive. They stir fond childhood memories of my grandparents’ farm and inspire my storytelling. I am fortunate to live in an agricultural region dotted with this historic architecture. After a windstorm felled a neighbouring barn, I began to reflect on the life expectancy of these treasured buildings.

I recently enjoyed a conversation with Jon Radojkovic, president of Ontario Barn Preservation (OBP). Along with board members and regional representatives, he devotes himself to documenting and protecting Ontario barns constructed prior to 1959.

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Beds for Pioneers

I love a good night sleep. Who doesn’t? Sufficient rest affects a frame of mind. Certain mattresses and bed frames guarantee physical aches and pains. With friendly concern for historical characters residing inside my stories, current and future, I set about to discover the nature of bed with which they must contend.

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