The following book review was written by Bobbi King:
The Cowkeeper’s Wish, a Genealogical Journey
By Tracy Kasaboski and Kristen Den Hartog.
Published by Douglas & McIntyre (Madeira Park, BC). 2018. 447 pages.
The opening pages show the Charles Booth Poverty maps of the London boroughs of St. Saviour, Southwark, and Whitechapel. The legend denotes the streets and residences of: “Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal.”; “Very poor, casual. Chronic want.”; “Poor.”; “Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor.”; “Upper middle and Upper Classes. Wealthy.” Seeing a poverty map on the first pages of a story clues us in that this may not be a joyful tale.
The authors tell the story of their ancestors’ taking leave of rural poverty in Wales seeking a better life in urban London. Benjamin Jones gathers a few of his cows, the only manner of livelihood he knows, and along with his soon-to-be wife Margaret Davies, walks the distance from their impoverished rural homes to what becomes their impoverished urban home in the borough of London. The story follows the lives of their children and grandchildren who gradually pull out of their own difficult situations to achieve a measure of comfortable living in England and later, in London, Ontario, where a great-granddaughter Doris, who serves as a focal character of the saga, emigrates out of England to begin and live out her own life in London, Ontario, Canada.