The Flourish


384 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 1-894800-36-2
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Susan Merskey

Susan Merskey is freelance writer in London, Ontario.


Part historical fiction, part murder mystery, The Flourish is a
retelling of the author’s own family secret. Based on the true story
of Charlotte Spears, who was the author’s grandfather’s cousin, the
book gives voice to Miss Charlotte “Chattie” Spears of Annville,
Scotland, a piano teacher and composer torn between duty and desire.

Set beside the River Clyde in the late 19th century, this fascinating
story of an independent woman’s adventures is replete with insights
into the social mores of the time. For example, it is acceptable for
Charlotte to teach piano and harmonium, but not acceptable for her to
have a male admirer or to entertain thoughts of marriage.

Author Heather Spears is an award-winning writer who has published 11
poetry collections and three novels, as well as books of drawings and
poetry. Her latest offering is well told and, once started, hard to put
down. An introduction, afterword, and endnotes give the details of what
is known of the true story. A glossary would have proved helpful to
those readers who will inevitably be puzzled by the book’s generous
sampling of Scottish dialect.


Spears, Heather., “The Flourish,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,