Engrossing historical fiction for readers of Bride of New France and The Birth House about one of Canada’s most inimitable pioneers and her struggles to survive in the wilderness, brought beautifully to life in this accomplished debut
Teetering on the edge of genteel poverty, Englishwoman Susanna Moodie agrees to leave behind her growing career as a writer to follow her husband from her beloved Suffolk to the backwoods of Canada. John Moodie is an ebullient man with a weakness for money-making schemes, and he is convinced that riches await them in the New World. It is the 1830s, and despite their dreams, Susanna is woefully unprepared for life in the wilderness.
Susanna Moodie’s true story of hardship and survival in a log cabin deep in the bush is part of our national mythology. Now, respected writer and editor Cecily Ross gives us an unprecedented fictional portrait of Susanna—the sister, the wife, the mother, the writer—a woman confronting both the wilds of Canada and the wilderness of her own heart. Told through imagined lost diaries, the novel explores Susanna’s complex inner life from childhood through to the worst challenges of pioneering in a harsh and unforgiving landscape with her devoted but hapless and often absent spouse.
Part love story, part coming-of-age narrative, this captivating novel brings to vivid life Moodie’s courage, wit and strength, as well as her moments of despair. The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie shows how one woman, against all odds and adversity, prevails and makes this savage and beautiful land her own.
About the author
CECILY ROSS is an award-winning writer and editor who has worked at The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Harrowsmith, The Cobourg Star and The Peterborough Examiner. Her writing has appeared in these publications as well as in The New York Times, Chatelaine, ON Nature and Zoomer Magazine. She lives in Creemore, Ontario.
“Emotionally honest, wry and resilient, Susanna Moodie, as depicted by Cecily Ross, takes us into her world-wilderness, storm, childbirth, anguished love, and the longing to write. Fascinating, complex, and heartbreaking, Susanna’s voice convinces us that we have time-travelled, yet speaks to our contemporary hearts. I loved this book.”
Beth Powning, author of A Measure of Light and The Sea Captain's Wife
“I love this book. More importantly, Susanna Moodie would have loved this book, I am convinced. Cecily Ross manages beautifully, compellingly and seamlessly to create a fiction out of the experiences of this brave frontier woman. The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie is a remarkable, brilliant work of art.”
Joseph Kertes, award-winning author of The Afterlife of Stars
“Cecily Ross has brought Susanna Moodie to life in The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie. Ross writes with keen insight and remarkable historical detail. These fascinating journal entries give the reader a deeply personal look at the exciting life and times of one of Canada’s most beloved pioneers.”
Suzanne Desrochers, author of The Bride of New France
It is heartening to see Susanna Moodie being re-envisioned so capably and thoughtfully by Cecily Ross. Moodie remains one of our great voices from the nineteenth century. Thanks to Ross’s engaging narrative we get not only Moodie herself but Mary Shelley!”
Michael Peterman, Professor Emeritus, Trent University and author of Susanna Moodie: A Life and co-editor of Moodie's letters