Miss Confederation: Mercy Anne Coles diary tells woman's side of Confederation

Miss Confederation: Mercy Anne Coles diary tells woman's side of Confederation

When she heard about Mercy Anne Coles' diary, author Anne MacDonald says she got a copy — and was so fascinated by Mercy that she added her as a character in one of her books.

But she didn't stop there. 

"I was still so fascinated I thought this diary needs to be transcribed word for word and annotated because she refers to things and you don't know what she's talking about."

MacDonald went on to adapt the diary into a feature-length novel. That novel, Miss Confederation, tells the story of the events surrounding Confederation as seen and experienced from Coles' perspective.

Coles was in a unique position to observe the unfolding events, as the daughter of P.E.I. delegate George Coles.  

After the first meeting of the Fathers of Confederation on the Island at the end of August and beginning of Septemeber 1864, Coles took his daughter with him to the next meeting held in Quebec in October.

"She kept a diary of that trip and it's never been published until now," said MacDonald.

The author said she found it incredible that a woman's voice on Confederation had never been published.

"She's commenting upon things about Canada and about the Fathers of Confederation and other things about Canada written at the time so it's very live," said MacDonald. "You're reading things as they are happening before they become myths, before the men become myths and legends, before the whole history of Canada becomes a myth or legend."

Soundtrack to book

​There will be a number of book launches across P.E.I and MacDonald will be joined by harpist, Ann Germani who says her album of Canadian music from that time is the soundtrack to the book.

During her search for music that was being played at the time of Confederation, Germani says she  came upon the diary of Margaret Grey Lord, the daughter of John Hamilton Gray, also a Father of Confederation.

In her diary, Lord spoke about the importance of all the social gatherings used for political networking as much as for entertainment.

Germani said the painting of the ball held on Sept. 8, 1864 also inspired her because of the amateur orchestra playing . 

"A lot of this music is very nationalistic, a lot of these pieces were named after events and places." 

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