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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Flora MacDonald Was a Badass, And I Want a Romance Novel About Her

The year is 1746, and the Scottish countryside is in turmoil. Bands of British soldiers scour the countryside for Jacobite supporters, while ravens still circle the field of Culloden. People hide their bagpipes and their swords wherever they can, and the Hanovarians brook no resistance.

Image result for hebridesMeanwhile, a young, handsome prince trailed by a few of his exhausted, but devoted followers flee through the Scottish highlands for their lives. Prince Charles Stuart is weary and heartsick. His brave rebellion, once so noble and optimistic has come to a screaming, bloody halt. The screams of the fallen still haunt him, and he knows it's his fault. 

Yet, the Highlanders do not condemn him. They offer shelter and safe passage, despite the bounty on his head. He would have been dead a thousand times over if not for their help.

It's the dead of night when they dock at Benbecula. The sea is dark and inscrutable, the scent of salt drifts on the breeze. Charlie and his remaining followers hide in the craggy rocks of the coastline while Captain O'Niell scouts the land. 

Charlie can feel every dull pounding of his heart as he wraps his arms around himself to try and get warm. Why does it still beat when so many others have been stilled? It was his pride, his arrogance, after all, that brought death to so many bright young men. The people he strove to protect, to liberate, he'd decimated them instead. The name of Stuart had once meant hope to so many people, now it just stood for death. 

A sharp call pierced the air. Prince Charlie stirred. Captain O'Niell was back.

The Captain poked his head around the weathered rock, "I've found a place, my prince." he said, "A Miss MacDonald said that she would hide us."

Bonny Prince Charlie is perhaps one of the best known Scottish folk heroes. Right along side him is Flora MacDonald is a Scottish heroine best known for assisting Bonny Prince Charlie escape to the Isle of Skye. Obviously, the above is fiction, but you cannot deny that Flora's encounter with the Young Pretender had more than a touch of romance to it.

Image result for Flora MAcdonald
Flora
Flora MacDonald was born on the Isle of South Uist in the outer Hebrides. She was educated and most likely wealthy, the ward of the Chief of Clan MacDonald. At the time she met Charlie she was engaged to an Allen MacDonald, a soldier in the Hanoverian army.

Despite her fiance's affiliations, and the fact that her step-father was also a part of the Hanoverian army, Flora was persuaded to help the Prince escape to the Isle of Raasay. She used her influence over her step-father to obtain a travel pass to mainland Scotland. She took the Prince with her, disguised as her maid. Once out in the water, Flora changed course for the Isle of Raasay.

The Young Pretender disembarked there, leaving her with only a locket containing his portrait, and the crime of treason. Once word of Charlie's escape spread, Flora was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Luckily for her, her story doesn't end there. She was released from the tower, and married her Allen. She then went on to fight on the British side of the American Revolutionary War, and stand up to French Privateers. She was a remarkable woman in no way defined by the men she loved. But I still really want a historical romance novel about her and Bonny Prince Charlie.

Because it would be the perfect story. They had two days, maybe three together. She was saving his life, and he was the handsome, rakish ladies man. It would make for a fantastic story, and I will make brownies for whoever writes it for me.

What do you think of Flora? What do you think of her revolutionary exploits?

Sources
Historic UK
North Carolina History

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