Passion and Scandal: Great Canadian Love Stories


266 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55059-148-7
DDC 920.071




Reviewed by Pauline Carey

Pauline Carey is the author of Magic and What’s in a Name?


Forget the teasing title and the pink rose petals on the cover. There is
very little romance here. The author writes in her introduction that her
decision to exclude any contemporary stories resulted in “a sort of
popular history book rather than one of current affairs (pun

Smith’s blending of fact and fiction in the stories makes the book a
frustrating read. For example, in relating the story of Tom Thomson and
Winnifred Trainor, she makes repeated use of footnotes to document
relatively trivial matters. However, in order to communicate what
Thomson and Trainer thought or what they said to each other, she resorts
to fictional techniques. Similarly, in chronicling the sad affair
between Alberta Premier John Brownlee and Vivian MacMillan—it ended
with the two suing each other—Smith treats conjecture as though it
were fact.

Nevertheless, there is history to be gleaned from these pages. We learn
something about Francis Rattenbury, the architect of B.C.’s provincial
parliament buildings in Victoria (who was driven by scandal back to
England with his former mistress, Alma); about William Lyon Mackenzie
King and his mother; about bank robber Eddie Boyd and his wife, Doreen;
and about the plight of the Acadians in a story based on Longfellow’s
poem Evangeline.


Smith, Barbara., “Passion and Scandal: Great Canadian Love Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 26, 2021,