The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong, 390 pages
Women Unbound Challenge; TBR Lite; Canadian Book Challenge
Sally Armstrong was always fascinated by her great-great-great-great-grandmother. Charlotte Taylor was legendary in their family - running away from England with the family butler, landing in Canada as the only English woman in the Miracmichi, the rumors of her love with a local native man, the many husbands she buried, the twelve children she raised. As she investigated into Charlotte's life, she made some conjectures about where she might have gone and how she lived. Since Charlotte lived in the late 1700s, there wasn't a ton of information. But combining family legend with known information, she has written a wonderful tribute to an amazing lady.
It is published as fiction, but it is, as they say, based on a true story. The Miramichi is in northern New Brunswick, still a generally wildish type area, based on my own prejudices and stereotypes. Armstrong writes a fascinating story, showing the reader what life was like for the early settlers in Canada. Not easy to be a woman, but Charlotte was the type of woman who thrived in a pioneer setting. She was able to make decisions that helped her (the men to marry) and then pick up herself was bad things happened (she buried several husbands.) Through it all, she was determined to own her land and defend her family. She maintained friendships with the Mi'kmaq, and Armstrong shows the poor treatment the natives received.
For those interested in historical fiction- a Canadian view of the deportation of the Acadians, the settlement by the English and the Loyalists from the States (the American Revolution crept into Canada since the British were still ruling here), the treatment of the Mi'kmaq, this is a great book. Besides this broad view, the specific life of Charlotte Taylor was remarkable, as one woman living in the wilds of New Brunswick maintained her family and built a legacy.