A Woman Nobly Planned: Fact and Myth in the Legacy of Flora MacDonald cover

A Woman Nobly Planned

Fact and Myth in the Legacy of Flora MacDonald

by John J. Toffey

Tags: Biography, History

264 pp  $34.95

ISBN 978-0-89089-957-1

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Flora MacDonald's 10-day adventure with Bonnie Prince Charlie in June 1746 brought her instant fame and a year of captivity. While in London, she became a darling of society, sitting for portraitists Ramsay, Wilson, Hudson, Robertson, Read, Hogarth, and Highmore. Her popularity was epitomized when Samuel Johnson and James Boswell went out of their way to meet Flora during their tour of the Hebrides. In this exciting new book — the most comprehensive account of this Scottish heroine's history and heritage — Toffey examines Flora's portrayals in the various media, paying particular attention to the mingling of fact and myth in the telling of Flora's story.

In 1774, Flora and some of her family emigrated to North Carolina just in time to be caught up on the losing side in the American Revolution. Remaining loyal to the crown, she and her husband suffered great hardships and long separation before they could return to their native land. As a result, Flora left a deep impression on North Carolina.

In the 19th century, Sir Walter Scott and others promoted Flora as the embodiment of romanticized Scottish Jacobitism to be incorporated into unified, enlightened Britain. At the end of the 19th century, within a decade or so of the centennial of her death, Flora's "canonization" was engineered by her descendants.

Today, she is celebrated in opera and ballad, and she is the principal character in at least three novels and appears in several others. She is the subject of plays and a movie. She has been likened to Pocahontas, Grace Darling, Lady Arabella, Queen Boadicea, and Joan of Arc. Toffey's book will fascinate anyone interested in Scottish heritage, historical heroines, legend, biography, or romance.