Chapter One

A week to the day before their June wedding, Olivia King and Jasper Dale pedaled their bicycle-built-for-two along the rolling and winding road that led from Avonlea to Golden Milestone, the Dale farm.

The sight had become quite a familiar one to the residents of the little Prince Edward Island village. Olivia and Jasper, together on the bicycle Jasper had invented especially for them, sometimes with photographic equipment hanging from their shoulders as they went off to record history for the Avonlea Chronicle, sometimes just as they were now, pedaling as one, enjoying their comfortable solitude in the peace and quiet of the countryside.

The people of Avonlea still thought Jasper was an odd duck, too much prone, in their opinion, to tinkering and inventing, but they recognized his differences now with tolerance and a certain respect. They often pointed out this two-seated bicycle contraption of his with genuine pride, saying a better one couldn’t be had, even from the catalogues that arrived twice yearly in the Lawsons’ general store. Jasper Dale was a strange fellow for sure, but he had a head full of knowledge and more curiosity than a jaybird, and you never knew what he would come up with next.

Jasper Dale’s failures and successes were the topic of many heated discussions around the pot- bellied stove in the general store. No one could agree on which Jasper escapade was more entertaining— the day he and his “amazing” flying machine had ended up in the haystack in the King pasture, or the fateful evening his magic-lantern show had set fire to the Town Hall. But the one thing that everyone in town agreed on was that he was darn lucky to have met up with Olivia King. She was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

As Olivia pedaled along, with the fresh sea breeze in her face and the blur of orange devil’s paintbrushes and purple lupine passing beside her against the deep-blue sky, the lady in question herself would have heartily disagreed. On the contrary, she believed the best thing that had ever happened to her was Jasper Dale.

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