THE COW'S TAIL: A DIARY
Volume 11 Number 2.
Heather Davidson is an ex-Ontario teacher who now lives in Nova Scotia. She has written newspaper articles and has done some local journalism in the Annapolis Valley. The Cow's Tail is a sequel to her first book, Hot Tongue, Cold Shoulder,* which she published in 1981. Both books are in the form of a diary written by settlers from Connecticut who moved to Nova Scotia to take up the Acadian lands after the Expulsion of 1754. The diarists are Peter laiallman (Hot Tongue, Cold Shoulder) and his wife, Catherine Thallman, who records her thoughts and activities in The Cow's Tail. The setting, events, and opinions expressed by the characters are authentic and hold the attention of the reader for the hour or so that it takes to read the book. The use of the diary format makes it easy to believe that the Thallman's did exist and that the events that took place are real. Indeed, the story is based on fact. Catherine Thallman does not want to move from a prosperous life in Connecticut to the unknown wilderness of Nova Scotia. She thinks her husband is endangering his family; indeed, he does. Pioneering in Nova Scotia, the Thallman's have new skills to learn (like dyking the marshes), marriages to make, funerals to attend, and a zealous clergyman to keep in line. The only character that has any three-dimensional quality is Catherine Thallman, the diarist, and the reader really does not get to know her.
One of the main problems with this book is that, in the attempt to make it look authentic, the author/publisher has chosen to have it hand written in brown ink on beige paper. That does not encourage one to try to read it, although I found that once I got started it was not hard on the eyes, but one cannot skim it.
The illustrations look something like woodcuts and are suitable for the design of the book. The imprint and title page are in calligraphy, done by Deborah Young. The handwriting was done by Neva R. Schofield.
The Cow's Tail might be a good book to assign to students to read if they are studying Nova Scotia in the period 1754-1800. I do not think they would pick it up and read it without direction.
*Reviewed vol. XI/1 January 1983 p. 13.
Catherine Cox, Moncton H. S., Moncton, NB.
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