Friday, March 17, 2017

Researching New Brunswick- a surprising history

Available in Jan. 2018
When I was asked to contribute to the Canadian Historical Brides series, with the stellar help of Nancy Bell, I bought a book on the province’s history. I decided to set my story in the eighteenth century, a period I enjoy writing in, and picked the year 1784. From the book I learned that was the year the huge colony of Nova Scotia was divided in two, the western part to be called New Brunswick. This was my first surprise.

Coming of the Loyalists by Henry Sandham
Why the break? After the Revolutionary War, the numerous people who’d remained loyal to King George III had their property confiscated and risked arrest. Thousands of these Loyalists escaped north, into Canada, and the western portion of Nova Scotia. The colony swelled with a disgruntled population who needed land. They demanded their own colony, another capital.


I wanted to toss my characters into this morass, everything changing.

Nancy sent me several websites with old maps, documents on the settling of the Loyalists, so much to work in, or leave out.

Then I came across the history of the Acadian Expulsion, the original French settlers when the area was known as New France. Entire villages were slaughtered when the British took over. I just had to delve deeper into that period, and have an Acadian character, one whose mother lived through the expulsion.
Acadians by Samuel Scott

Of course, I couldn’t ignore the First People who were there when the French arrived, mainly the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet tribes. Every layer of settlement, wars, massacres, needed to be worked in without overloading the story.

The biggest challenge was to fit in my fictional characters with actual historical personages, the history timeline, and the extreme hardships of this as yet untamed wilderness. Also, what food was available in what season, and what items were shipped in. How did these people survive the long winters, and the political turmoil around them and I had to make sure I kept to the historical facts.

I hope my novel, On a Stormy Primeval Shore, will intrigue readers about New Brunswick and its varied history.

To find out more about my novels, please visit my BooksWeLove author page: BWL DS Lewis
Or my website: DianeScottLewis


  1. Thank you for this interesting post. I look forward to reading the novel.

  2. Thanks, Rosemary. Good thing I enjoy research.

  3. I always like to hear about New Brunswick, since my father came from this province and numerous relatives still live there. I'll have to buy this book for one of them -- and read it myself. Best wishes for the novel.

  4. Fascinating historical details Diane, hope the writing goes well and I'm eagerly awaiting the novel.

  5. Thanks for your comments, Susan and Anita. I hope you both enjoy the book when it comes out early next year.

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  7. Enjoyed your post, Diane, especially since we're entrenched in a similar era with many of the same historical issues. I'm looking forward to this book.

  8. Great post, Diane. A very interesting period of history. I'm looking forward to the novel.

  9. I love your writing and how you weave historical data into your stories. This should be a great read.