Sisters in the Wilderness: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill

Synopsis from web site: Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill are icons of Canadian literature.

Their books, most notably Roughing it in the Bush and The Backwoods of Canada, have painted for readers in this country and around the world an enduring portrait of Canadian pioneer life. They have become almost mythic figures in the Canadian literary landscape, appearing in the works of Northrop, Frye, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley and Margaret Laurence.

Most of what we know of these two English gentlewomen who spent their adult lives scrambling to survive in Britain’s hardscrabble colony comes from their own self-consciously crafted writings and from other writers’ sometimes fanciful depictions of them. But what were the women behind the authorial voices really like? What was their relationship to each other? And to their husbands, children and the family they left behind in England?

The answers are thoroughly captivating and not a little surprising. Their lives are revealed in the extremes that shaped them – fame and starvation, snobbery and passion, profound faith and ersatz spirituality. In Sisters in the Wilderness, Charlotte Gray breathes new life into the two remarkable characters and brings us a brilliantly clear picture of life in the backwoods and clearing of Upper Canada.

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