The Shadow of Tradition: A tale of Old Glengarry by C. Holmes MacGillivray – Book Review by Kathy Coffey

Early Glengarry Book Title Page edited


CFN – My mother recently loaned me a historical fiction novel based on the history of Glengarry and area in the late 18th and early 19th century. The story was so fascinating because I could see how the local culture has evolved from a combination of the Scots and their French neighbours. Even more interesting, the characters were the ancestors of some of the people that I knew growing up.

Let me first apologize to the reverent first addition book collectors, I just finished reading a first edition book by Carrie Holmes MacGilivray titled “The Shadow of Tradition”.  I admit I see no value in owning a book I cannot read, and to me this one had more value in the story than in the binding. If you like historical fiction, you will love this book. In her introduction MacGillivray states that “In dealing with History, care has been taken to state the facts with accuracy.”

The book covers three generations of Kennedy’s, it tells their story from their immigration from Scotland to St Raphael’s in Upper Canada. The time line runs from just after the American war of Independence to the end of the war of 1812.

The story covers the capture of Ogdensburgh. She wrote about the incident from an article written by James Holmes from his interview of Alexander McLean, one of the commanders of the attack. There probably is a close match to the reality of the situation. This is followed up with incidents around the battle of Chryslers Farm and the events leading up to it. She writes with such clarity that I was actually there and it was pretty scary.

I couldn’t help but think that it would make an amazing CBC story.

For the collectors out there you will be happy to hear that the book has been reprinted and is for sale by contacting the St Raphael’s Ruins, at link below. I will be picking up a copy as well as the reprint of Alexander MacDonells story.




Coffeys Coffee 300x250 2013-04-14

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