By Elizabeth Patterson - The Chronicle Herald
If you’ve lived in Nova Scotia for any length of time, you’ve heard about Oak Island.
It’s a place shrouded in mystery and wonder, thanks to its association with pirate treasure and the resulting folly that seemingly strikes anyone brave or foolish enough to hunt for it.
Oak Island Family: The Restall Hunt for Buried Treasure is the story of one family’s tragic search for riches.
Lee Lamb’s parents were circus performers who toured with their motorcycle act, the Globe of Death, across North America in the 1950s.
For a change of pace, they decide to move to Nova Scotia in 1959 with their two sons to search for pirate treasure on Oak Island.
Lamb, who was married with her own family at the time, admits the Restalls weren’t exactly your average family, a fact that didn’t make the book any easier to write.
“Oak Island Family was meant for readers new to the Oak Island story.
It would provide a scaled-down version of the original treasure hunts and just the bare bones of the Restall experience on Oak Island,” said Lamb in an email interview, adding that she thought the job would “be easy and fun.”
“I was wrong. Stripping the stories to essentials was hard work, and the emotional impact of revisiting my family’s experience completely blindsided me.
While I wrote, this memory reminded me of that, and that led to another recollection, long forgotten. By the end of the book, I was completely wrung out.
I was left with a strange pervasive sadness and deepened awareness of the sacrifices my mother and brothers had made for what, at the very end, had become only my Dad’s obsession.”
The plan was to stay there for less than a year, but delays and problems kept them there until 1965, when a tragic accident killed her father, brother and two men working on the site.
While, in hindsight, it’s hard to imagine searching for something that could kill you, Lamb successfully explains the journey to that fatal day and how a family’s hard work, dedication to an idea, and hope led to the deaths of four people.
The Restalls simply tried too hard to find an island’s deep, dark secrets, which have yet to be uncovered.
Oak Island is still a magical place for Lamb, but she fears for its future as long as the treasure remains unclaimed.