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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Life for the early settlers in Nova Scotia wasn’t easy. But neither had it been easy in the homeland, in Ireland. Ira Stewart, a blacksmith by trade, brought his wife, Merry, and family to the New World in the hopes of a better life. When the ship abandoned them on a small strip of land, a mere sandbar, little did they know how kind the Nova Scotians would be, not just in saving their lives, but also in helping them get a new start. The family instantly fitted into life in the small community of Chester Basin. Their plan, however, was to carry on to the Annapolis Valley to set down roots.
Joan Newcomb’s novel, Annapolis Valley Bound, is the second book in the Nova Scotia by Chance series which chronicles the journeys and struggles of the Stewart family. The story picks up where the first book finished, with the Stewarts settling into the community life of Chester Basin. Merry, ever industrious, fits in well with her ability to cook, can, and care for others. A shipwreck brings ashore more destitute Irish immigrants seeking refuge, only this group also brings a dreaded disease, typhoid fever. That doesn’t stop Merry from helping these refugees as best she can. And the journey continues as Ira and Merry make their way to the Annapolis Valley. The story is well told with plenty of dialogue. The characters present the many things required of an early settler, especially amongst the women. There is no real plot, as this story is more of a creative nonfiction tale, telling readers about early life in Nova Scotia. An interesting read.