Pearleen Oliver: Canada’s Black Crusader for Civil Rights, Edited by Ronald Caplan

As the Black Lives Matter movement advances, there have been many, many new books released focussing on the history of slavery, segregation and outright racism that existed and still exists in Canada. This is particularly true in Atlantic Canada where many former slaves and black Loyalists sought freedom and new lives, only to face the same issues they were escaping from in the Thirteen Colonies.…

Around the Province in 88 Days by Emily Taylor Smith

Early on a May morning, a young Nova Scotia woman straps on a small backpack and leaves the Halifax Common to start her journey along the coastal roads of Nova Scotia. Planning to cover almost a marathon a day, she will walk the perimeter of the entire province in just under three months to raise awareness for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society.

Throw Down Your Shadows by Deborah Hemmings

What does it mean, to do the wrong thing for the right reasons? 16-year-old Winnie, the self-reliant narrator of Deborah Hemming’s taut novel Throw Down Your Shadows, is about to learn that painful lesson. 

It’s summer, 2005. Winnie lives with her artist mother, Ruth, in Gaspereau, a small rural community next door to Wolfville, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, wine and apple country.…

The Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe

Reading a novel by Lesley Cynthia Crewe is like covering yourself in an old quilt. You know you can settle in and get cozy, wrap yourself in the words and let the characters and their memories keep you company as you read.

Emmeline Darling, the book’s main character, revisits her past as she reads aloud from her memoir at a writing class she takes in her retirement years.…

Saltwater Chronicles: Notes on Everything Under the Nova Scotia Sun by Lesley Choyce

Lesley Choyce has been a mainstay on the Atlantic Canadian literary scene for decades. The author of 100 books, he has written and published in every genre imaginable. He has won and been shortlisted for numerous regional and national literary awards, operates a publishing house, held teaching positions at Dalhousie University and other institutions, and worked as a television presenter. He is an environmentalist, a humanitarian, a surfer, a husband and father, and a tireless advocate for Atlantic Canadian writing and writers.…

A Forest for Calum by Frank MacDonald

A Forest for Calum takes place in the 1950s and 60s rural Cape Breton. Many of the men and fathers around are war veterans; Roddie’s father was a casualty. His mother followed soon after. Which is how he came to be raised by his grandfather Calum.

With just the two of us, a 70-year-old man and a 6-year-old kid, conversations were pretty scarce, most of the time over the following years filled with patterns and habits.…

Blood in the Water: a True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes by Silver Donald Cameron

Blood in the Water is really the story of two men, the most apparent being that of Phillip Boudreau, the not-so-innocent victim of murder, the other being that of the book’s author, the late Silver Donald Cameron. While it certainly would not have been the author’s wish that this book would be published posthumously, it has nevertheless drawn even more attention since the active mind of this wonderful gentleman is now at rest.…

Wounded Hearts: Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home by Lois Legge

Spending two weeks in the “isolation room.” Standing inside a closet as punishment. Being tied into bed at night. These are some of the memories shared by former residents of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home in award-winning journalist Lois Legge’s Wounded Hearts: Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home.

In addition to inserting snippets of sociological context, Legge provides the reader with basic facts about the Home and its inception.…

Broken Symmetry by Rosalie Osmond

Rosalie Osmond’s second novel, Broken Symmetry, centres on the Wentzell family. The events unfold from 1943 to 1959 and mostly occur in their shared family home in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. When the novel opens, sisters Emma and Virtue are married to two brothers, Nathan and Obadiah. The men own a small barbershop together which sits next to the shared house. The hundred-year-old home was originally designed by a sea captain “centred on the eternal rather than temporal reward.”…

The Story of Lillian Burke, by Edward M. Langille

Lillian Burke is not a household name. If Edward M. Langille, author of The Lillian Burke Story, had his way, that would change. Artist, reconstruction therapist, musician, teacher—American-born Burke was all of these. Though Burke lived the bulk of her life in the United States, she also had a Canadian connection. This came through Elsie Grosvenor, Alexander Graham Bell’s eldest daughter.

Acadian Driftwood: One Family and the Great Expulsion by Tyler LeBlanc

year 2020 marks 265 years since the Acadian Expulsion (Le Grande Dérangement) in 1755. Unfortunately, the outbreak of Covid-19 will likely not allow Acadians to gather together to observe this milestone year. Annually, on August 15th (the actual day of the start of the deportations), Acadians the world over observe their overcoming of the cultural genocide enacted upon them by the British.…

Good Mothers Don’t by Laura Best

illness. It would appear that the mental illness trope never seems to wear out. Is it because we who are able are fascinated by those with a mental disability? Or do we see more than a few of our own thoughts and mis/perceptions in the bringing to light the depths of madness the human brain is capable of? Whatever the reason, I never tire of seeing how an author — using fiction — unravels the tangled up thoughts of a mentally ill person.…

Finding Fortune: Documenting and Imagining the Life of Rose Fortune (1774-1864) by Brenda J. Thompson

closely on the heels of her award-winning book The Poor Houses of Nova Scotia, Brenda J. Thompson has brought an important historical figure to light: Black Loyalist Rose Fortune.

Rose was a ‘character’ in Annapolis Royal and elsewhere. She was born a time when, as a poor Black woman, she was expected to keep her place in the community and keep herself silent.…

Two Novels of Le Grand Dérangement

The Great Deportation or Le Grand Dérangement, of the Acadian peoples, began in 1755 in the area now called the Bay of Fundy. Homes and farms were burned, and many of the 14,000 inhabitants of Acadia were herded aboard British ships and sent off to the Thirteen Colonies. The following two novels, both suitable for mature young readers on up, focus on this time of upheaval and the separation of families.…