It's not a bad book in any way. However before you decide to either pay good money or spend good time reading this book, you should be aware of a couple of things.
Catharine Parr Traill is a very good writer. Her compilation of letters is an excellent way of obtaining a first hand account of pioneer life and the struggles that she goes through without actually being a pioneer in the backwoods of Canada. She is incredibly descriptive, almost to the point of nausea, but on the plus side, if you ever wanted to know how an intelligent and witty pioneer woman found a way to make her new cabin "homey" or how she made candles, this is definitely the book for you.
She is incredibly intelligent and she is describing her new life from scratch to her family back home, so you can only imagine how many new and interesting things she has to tell her family. Most of her descriptions are of the plant life she's encountering or new animals so it's very telling to see how she handles herself in this new environment she finds herself in. In fact, she becomes rather scientific, examining and comparing her new findings with others she's aware of back home. It's an interesting process to witness and she takes great pride in her findings, if you couldn't tell by the enthusiasm she has while she describing them.
It's a very telling account of what pioneer life can be like, however Traill does put a nice shiny gloss over her first years of pioneer life. She basically creates a compilation of letters that is meant to boost the population of pioneers and to express all the greatness of pioneer life can hold (she says as much in the Forward at the beginning of the book). From her point of view the life of Canadian pioneer is difficult, but rewarding and can bring great wealth and prosperity to newcomers to the pioneer lifestyle. She wants you to join her on her own adventure and honestly after reading her account it's mighty tempting, that is if I had lived at a time when there were still places to pioneer.
Her new life in Canada creates a great deal of struggles, but Traill is persistent in her good attitude and often lessens the impact of a negative experience. The Canadian winters were harsh, and considering she was also new to the harsh weather she spends little time detailing the sickness and disease that at one point her whole family has contracted. In fact she spends about a paragraph or less describing the ordeal. Just for comparison if she sees a new flower or other type of plant she's never seen before, she spends a few pages describing it.
Nonetheless it's an interesting read, and for me it's always been more on a woman trying to find a new identity for herself in this new unknown world that she had found herself in. She's became a landowner and a pioneer, a self sufficient woman with everything to prove in a world where men were struggling to keep their new homes and lifestyles afloat. She is someone who came to this land that had been previously unknown to most Europeans and created a well established life for herself and encouraged that transformation in others as well.
She likens her new life to that of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and in so many ways she's right on the money.
Anyway. If you like history and first hand accounts of pioneer life this is probably a good one for you.