Kindle Edition, 2012
Review by J. S. Colley
The Scattered Proud is an historical romance. I think the only other historical romance I’ve read was Forever Amber, when I was twelve years old. The birthing scene traumatized me so much that I swore I’d never have children. With two births under my belt (sorry for that), I’ve obviously gotten over it. I only mention this because I don’t have much experience with this genre. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, however. I’ve read other writings from this author. She really knows how to turn a phrase, and I eagerly await her next publication.
The main protagonist is Janet Watters, who begins the novel as a young girl, and ends it as a woman. At the age of ten, she is forced to flee Philadelphia to escape a yellow fever epidemic. Kit DeWaere, the teenage son of the rector, is given the task of leading a small group out of harm’s way. The group includes Janet; her French governess, Donatienne; Mrs. McHenry, the housekeeper; and four pitiful children made orphan by the epidemic. The young and inexperienced Kit soon loses his way, and the small group suffers because of it. They never find the crossing into New Jersey, and they are forced to return home, but not before the death of one in the group.
Kit follows in his father’s footsteps and becomes a vicar. He soon finds himself in Paris, working in a clandestine Episcopal mission. During the time of the French Revolution, Christianity is banned and operating the mission not only requires compassion but discretion and courage.
Janet is left behind in America, still clinging to her childhood obsession with Kit, even in his absence. When her father decides to join the mission in Paris, she is forced to follow. There, she is reunited with Kit, only to discover that he is married to another. Janet is forced to work beside the man she loves, knowing he is unattainable. Will she ever find another to replace Kit in her heart?
Through her charitable work, Janet witnesses heartache and hardship, and grows into a woman. Soon the lives of everyone involved in the mission become entangled in the political machinations of France during the revolution, and things change for both Kit and Janet.
This novel does not depict its heroes and heroines as perfect creatures; they each have their flaws, as do all human beings. This makes for a richer, more complex novel. It is a story about duty, honor, humanity, and courage. It shows the capacity of humans to be good as well as evil, to be giving as well as selfish.
In the end, even through the sadness, it is an uplifting novel about the capacity of humans to be kind to one another.