The Muskoka cottagers who own most of the property nearby seem to come from another world entirely. Ben gets summer work fixing up a nearby cottage for a rich widow from New York and suddenly the doors of possibility swing open... but dreams are a far cry from reality.
I recently saw the movie Julie and Julia, so I took notice when boeuf bourguignon was served at a lavish party by the New York widow. The story took place 27 years before Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published, (the book that brought French recipes to American cooks), but it entirely possible that the widow learned how to make this stew without the help of Julia Child.
Readalikes: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire; Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks; A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly.