I love strong characters. I especially like strong heroines, women who are warriors in their own way. I’m not speaking about women who take up arms, but women who are morally brave and spiritually courageous.
Charlotte Havisham MacKinnon, the heroine of Autumn in Scotland, wanted what we all want: some measure of happiness, respect, and perhaps love, if she was fortunate enough to gain it. Not, however, if her husband had anything to say about it.
Charlotte was a dutiful daughter. Her father was strong-willed and her mother as autocratic in her way. Charlotte was the eldest daughter, the one expected to lead by example. When her father wanted a title, she agreed to marry a penurious Scottish earl by the name of George MacKinnon. After all, a girl’s duty was to marry well.
Dutiful daughter that she was, Charlotte married George and immediately received an education in the finer art of tolerance.
George was a philanderer and Charlotte abruptly realized there were certain things she wanted in a husband. Faithfulness, for one, and trust for another. The first week of her marriage taught her a great deal about George, but it taught her more about herself. She wasn’t quite as docile as everyone believed her to be. Nor was she possessed of an accepting nature. When George was found with one of the maids, she vowed such behavior would never happen again.
Charlotte was morally brave and spiritually courageous, but it took George’s desertion for her strength to appear. In a time when divorce was still a shocking thing, Charlotte Havisham MacKinnon decided to divorce her absent husband.
She had never before given her parents any difficulties, being ever conscious of the role as eldest daughter. She had obeyed their every stricture and been outwardly compliant. But Charlotte was like a volcano, rebellion bubbling deep inside. When she had her very first view of Balfurin Castle, she became less English and decidedly more Scot.
Autumn in Scotland is the story of Charlotte’s emerging personality and what happens when George returns.
Have you read Autumn in Scotland?
If so, what did you think of Charlotte?