In honour of my upcoming trip to Nova Scotia next week, I've scoured my brain for five books set in Nova Scotia that don't reek of old school CanLit or that are patently obvious (though I do do love The Nymph and the Lamp, it is so wonderfully perfectly fraught). Notably NOT on this list: The Birth House, Fall on Your Knees, The Book of Negroes and No Great Mischief.
What Is Left the Daughter: This is a US-published novel but I was happy to discover that it's set in Nova Scotia. Recluse Wyatt Hillyer lost both his parents on the same day. Double suicide. The cause: they were involved with the same neighbor. Wyatt moves to Middle Economy (been there!) and upon the occasion of his (estranged) daughter's 21st birthday many years later, writes her a letter than contains the truth about his life. Includes actual historical happenings, such as the sinking of the Nova Scotia–Newfoundland ferry Caribou by a German U-boat. I very much want to read this.
Seven Ravens: I used to read Lesley Choyce's YA when I was a kid. I'm not sure if you've heard of Choyce before but he's very well known in NS. This book is his memoir and a meditation on his beloved Nova Scotian home. I am a complete sucker for any book about emotional ties to place, especially if that place is situated in a spruce stand by the sea. I'm assuming that the seven crows refers to this old saying (though in my day, three crows meant a letter, not a wedding-yikes). Thanks to The Indextrious Reader for cluing me into this book.
Migration Songs: Joan is a 30-year old loner living in Halifax, kept afloat by her Hungarian neighbor, British father and Chinese-Canadian mother. Haven't read this but love the sounds of it for two reasons A) Not populated solely by white fishermen B) Not reliant on place for atmosphere and meaning. Atlantic Canada needs more novels like this.
The Sea Captain's Wife: Now THIS is really my speed! In the 1860's, Azuba Galloway marries a veteran sea captain but becomes pregnant and cannot join him on his travels. Her loneliness embroils her in scandal but once finally out at sea with her husband, tragedy doesn't leave her side. Ah-mazing.
Falling: An act of recklessness claimed Damian's sister in her youth (during a summer spent in Nova Scotia) and as he and his mother heal, another incident threatens to seal their future once again. For fans of The Sea Captain's Wife (and indeed Falling is recommended by Powning!). Thanks to Lavender Lines for recommending this title