As in his popular earlier book Beyond the River and the Bay, the bulk of the story is told by a character of Ross' invention, Ian Alexander Bell Robertson. Robertson, an Edinburgh gentleman born at the end of the Scottish enlightenment, acquired a deep sympathy for the displaced crofters and agricultural labourers of the Scottish Highlands. He lived in Quebec City between 1840 to 1842 to prepare a study of the Canadas intended either as a guide for the immigrant or, as Ross feels more likely, a record of the colonies at the moment they united and embarked on a promising future together. While Ross himself sets the work in historical context and explains the use of a fictitious author, it is Robertson, a keen observer, who describes in detail numerous aspects of Canadian life in 1841: transportation, communications, social institutions and customs, life on the new farms, and the relationship between the French and English residents of the colonies -- a relationship which in many ways resembles that of today. Throughout the book, Ross has interspersed snippets of information and illustration to supplement Robertson's writings. Scrupulously researched and easily accessible, Full of Hope and Promise will interest anyone wishing to know more about everyday life in Upper and Lower Canada at the time of the 1841 Union.