Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Notes: Miss Confederation, the Mercy Coles diary

Mercy Anne Coles -- the Jane Austen of confederation, maybe. Newly out from Dundurn Press is Miss Confederation, Anne McDonald's edition of the 1864 diary of Mercy Anne Coles, during the critical weeks of Canadian constitution-drafting.

The diary has been a historical source at least since Donald Creighton quoted from it in the early 1960s. This is the first publication of the complete diary: Charlottetown to Quebec on to Montreal and across Canada West to Toronto and Niagara Falls, and including the long trip home via the war-torn United States. Regina-based playwright and novelist Anne McDonald gets beyond the glimpses the diary offers of leading politicians.  She gives the whole text a close and sensitive reading of the perspective of a young, marriageable women whose politician father gives her entree to the social and political circles around the Quebec conference.

But you don't have to believe this blog when I say good things about it. You can read the introduction to Miss Confederation by some guy called Christopher Moore. Better still, read the whole thing.

Follow @CmedMoore