Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Categories: Books
The bare bones of this story have the makings of a mini series.
A seven-year-old girl is captured by Indians and taken to live in the wilds of 1703 New France. She survives the abduction, near-starvation, and epidemics.
She is converted to Catholicism and taken by Jesuit priests to Quebec where she enters a convent school and eventually becomes an Ursuline nun, cutting all ties with her family.
Despite all odds, she rises to become Mother Superior - the highest position available to an eighteenth century woman.
But, like so many women before and after her, Esther Wheelwright's story had been almost hidden from history.
Untold, that is, until one of her descendants became curious about her mysterious ancestor, and undertook to put some meat on the bones of the story.
Julie Wheelwright spent almost two decades exploring archives and historical sites, libraries and diaries. Her new book, Esther, the Remarkable True Story of Esther Wheelwright; Puritan Child, Native Daughter, Mother Superior chronicles a life of remarkable challenges and good fortune.
Julie Wheelwright was born in London , England, but grew up in British Columbia. She now makes her home in London, which is where we reached her.