Reading Local: Nova Scotia

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Late in August, we headed north. We had rented a cottage on the Southern Shores of Nova Scotia for our end-of-summer vacation. There was no phone, no TV, and no Wifi. Instead, we got seals, beautiful deserted beaches, and s’mores every night. It was pure bliss. Thanks to Naomi’s help during the planning stage and her way-too-short visit at the cottage, we were able to pack quite a bit of sightseeing, nature, and history into our week-long vacation.

I was even able to do some reading, thanks to the absolutely wonderful, child-friendly backyard at the cottage. I had quite a bit of fun looking at our map while reading.

Howard Norman’s What Is Left the Daughter takes place during the beginning of World War II. Wyatt Hillyear has to move in with his aunt and uncle because both of his parents committed suicide within hours of each other. Wyatt instantly falls in love with his cousin Tilda, who just as quickly falls in love with a German exchange student. Then German submarines are starting to target the ferries leaving Nova Scotia. Emotions run high, and the consequences of several impulsive actions are tragic. The ending of this book packs quite a punch, and I had to read it twice to fully grasp it. The characters often drive from the town of Middle Economy to Truro; they must have taken Route 2. (We didn’t have enough time to do the same.)

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Lawrence Hill’s Someone Knows My Name (also published as The Book of Negroes) is a book I can’t recommend highly enough. I  was absolutely enthralled by it. Aminata, the main character, doesn’t spend that much time in Shelburne, but since it wasn’t far from where we were, I had to include it in this post.

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Thanks again to Naomi, my Nova Scotia to-read list has quadrupled in size since our return. On top of my pile is Thomas Raddall’s Hangman’s Beach. (You can read Naomi’s review here.) You can’t see it on the map, but he has a national park named after him, and it’s right next to Kejimkujik National Park Seaside, where we went hiking one afternoon.

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We already know that we’ll go back one day, because there’s lots more to discover. And just in case we make it to Prince Edward Island then, I prepared. Because, really, who could resist this beautiful box set of Anne of Green Gables? (Thanks to Eva, who first made me aware of this whimsical edition.)

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21 comments

  1. I loved everything about this post. My husband and I went on a road trip in Nova Scotia years ago and got engaged at Peggy’s Cove. We’ve been trying to convince our kids to go there in the summer, but my oldest only want to go to amusement parks and places like that.

  2. Your holiday sounds so idyllic, the perfect break from modern life with all its stresses and strains. Gorgeous pictures too. And how wonderful to hear that you were able to meet up with Naomi – it doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂

    • Jacqui, with everything going on in the world, it was so great to be completely cut off from everything for a week. I needed that so badly! We had a wonderful time, and it was great to meet Naomi. She’s as nice in person as she is on her blog. 🙂

  3. I’m so envious of your new Anne set! I keep using my longing for it as an example to my daughter of how we can’t always have what we want. (So if I ever do break down, I’ll have to hide it until she’s grown!) (I have my old set, of course, which I also love for sentimental reasons.)

    Your pictures are gorgeous. And your post is wonderful. But, then again, I’m biased. 🙂
    I’ll still be here when you come back – looking forward to it!

    • Well, officially, I bought the box set as a Christmas present for my oldest. But I suspect I am more excited about it than she will be. But we’ll see… she just did her 3rd book report about the Little House series, so I’m hoping she’ll love Anne just as much. You need to watch it Naomi, I’ll take you up on your offer of talking books over several cups of tea and a long walk! 🙂

  4. That’s great that you had such a good time in Nova Scotia! I know Naomi is an excellent guide to the province and its literature. The Book of Negroes and Hangman’s Beach are two of my favourites. Reading Hangman’s Beach might make you want to visit McNabs Island; I know that reading about your trip makes me want to visit Kejimkujik Seaside, which I’ve never seen, even though I’ve lived in NS for many years…. I haven’t read What is Left the Daughter and it sounds intriguing. PEI is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and with that set, you are definitely ready for another literary trip!

    • I already sent a copy of The Book of Negroes to my mom. I was happy to see that it has been translated into German. And now that you second the recommendation of Raddall, I can’t wait for my copy of Hangman’s Beach to arrive. We have fallen in love with NS, so I am determined to go back. And then I want to see the northern part.

      • One of the highlights of the north shore of NS has to be Mabel Murple’s bookstore in River John, which hasn’t even opened yet, but I believe opening day will be early in July 2017. Do you know Sheree Fitch’s picture book Mabel Murple? (Couldn’t be more different from Hangman’s Beach, but both are on my list of NS favourites.)

  5. Thanks to your post, I just discovered fellow NS book blogger Naomi. I also learned that Kejimkujik has a southern, seaside location!

    I’m so happy you enjoyed your time in our beautiful province. Do visit again – perhaps next time along our beautiful North Shore?

    • We were lucky enough to visit both locations of Kejimkujik; both are beautiful! I was a bit upset that we didn’t have time to make it to the Bay of Fundy this time around, but it’s on the list. I have pretty much a whole tour of NS planned, and the North Shore is definitely part of it. 🙂

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