Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Reader's Diary #3009 - Nellie P. Strowbridge: Catherine Snow

It took me a very long time to adjust to Nellie P. Strowbridge's historical novel Catherine Snow: A Novel of the Last Woman Hanged in Newfoundland

Definitely having done her research, she uses a lot of the terminology and vocabulary that would have been used in early 1800's Newfoundland. On top of that, Strowbridge writes very descriptively. The combination therefore prevents it from being a quick read. Not that a novel should be a quick read, of course, but as I said, I had to get used to it.

Given the subtitle, one would be wise not to expect the happiest of novels. And full of misery it is. With the exception of loving her children, Catherine wasn't shown to have the greatest of lives. It's doubtful many women in Newfoundland at that time lived the most privileged of lives. It was a lot of hard labour in a very sexist, misogynistic society. Still Catherine's lot takes an even more unfortunate turn than most.

Trying not to give too much away, Strowbridge takes that angle that Catherine was hanged as an innocent. Possibly. It is very evident that she wasn't represented well in court and wasn't given a fair trial. Does that mean she was actually innocent? Maybe, maybe not. Undoubtedly it was a tragedy. 

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