Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: "A Woman Nobly Planned: Fact and Myth in the Legacy of Flora MacDonald" by John J. Toffey


From Goodreads:  Flora MacDonald is one of Scotland's leading ladies of legend. Her ten-day adventure with charismatic Bonnie Prince Charlie in June 1746 and her consequent confinement at Leith and in London brought her instant and lasting fame. Fame did not bring fortune, however. At fifty-two, Flora, with her husband and some of her family, left Scotland for better times in North Carolina. Instead, she and her family were caught up on the losing side of the American Revolution and suffered separation and hardship. In the two and a half centuries since her precipitating adventure, Flora has been mentioned in history and celebrated in legend. In the eighteenth century, Johnson praised her, London society flocked to her, and the principal portraitists of the day painted her. In the nineteenth century, Sir Walter Scott, King George IV, and Queen Victoria paid tributes to her, and her descendants built and dedicated memorials in her honor. In the twentieth century, Flora has continued to be celebrated in portrait, play, poem, song, and story; her name was given to a college, and her image has adorned marmalade jars and shortbread tins.

My Thoughts:  Since finishing the Outlander series, I have been fascinated by Flora MacDonald and have wanted to learn more about her.  I chose to read this book because it looked like it might be from a more reputable source than some of other books I found about her life.  I must say that I wish I had a read a biography of her first.  The main goal of this book is to debunk the different legends surrounding Flora MacDonald's life; her early years, the escape of the Bonnie Prince and her time in North Carolina.   It was interesting in that I had no idea there was so much misinformation out there about this woman but it didn't give me a really good picture of Flora as a person.  I guess this was the point of the whole book:  there isn't a lot of information period about Flora MacDonald which has led to the creation of these legends about her.  It was pretty neat to see how important her memory is in North Carolina and how she seemed to have an impact in America as well as in Scotland but I like I said I was definitely looking for more of a narrative of her life.  3 stars.

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