I read several good books this past summer; yikes, did I just use the past tense of summer? How depressing is that. Anyhow…lol…I did read a few good books over the past couple of months. (That sounds much better!)
I am currently reading Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman. (I am half finished and so far…it is awesome!) However, the book I want to tell you about is Sisters In The Wilderness by Charlotte Gray.
This double biography, describes the lives of two sisters, Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill. The sisters grew up in a gentile, upper middle class household, in Victorian England, during a time of much political, as well as, social unrest.
In their homeland the sisters were both relatively successful, published authors. Both women married soldiers and at the urging of their husbands, made the difficult decision to leave their homeland, family and friends in search of better life in the Canadian frontier.
However, all was not as envisioned. Both husbands turned out to be rather weak, feckless and ineffective mates. The couples were totally unprepared for the inhospital bush and barren farmland, which at best offered a meagre subsistence, and at worst, illness; death; starvation and humiliation.
As a way to battle isolation, despair and loneliness both sisters turned to their beloved writing. They wrote of their trials, experiences, observations, hopes and tribulations.
Excerpt from the book:
“Tall dense pine trees loomed over the Moodies, blocking any glimpse of the night sky, as they wearily clambered down from the heavy, horse-drawn sleigh. Susanna, John and their two little girls were exhausted, hungry and chilled to the bone. For eighteen hours they had lurched across packed snow and frozen swamp and through thick, silent forest. Now they had finally arrived at the home of Susanna’s sister Catharine Parr Traill and her husband Thomas, just north of the little Upper Canadian town of Peterborough. Susanna stumbled towards its promise of warmth and shelter – and reunion with her beloved sister.”
This book also offered a great review of Canadian history, geography and politics. It made me realize, instead of passing notes to my friends, I should have paid closer attention to the teachings that were happening in the classroom!
My initial response upon finishing this book was that I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse into the lives of Catherine and Suzanna and the contrasts between their lives in England and Canada. Not being an avid history buff, I was confused and I admit, even a bit bored by the many political and geographic references. However, in hindsight I have come to understand and appreciate the relevance and importance of these passages.
Overall I enjoyed this book; the Canadian history and geography that was at the root of the story, the contrast between their past and present lives and the realistic depiction of life for these two sisters living on what was then, the completely unglamourous, Canadian frontier.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.
Have you read this book? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts?
What have you been reading lately, I’m always on the lookout for good books, anything you would like to recommend?