What the critics have said

"This history has it all: desire and illicit sex, privilege and penury, fame and infamy, the dramatic momentum of an absorbing novel. ... Kalman Naves have a novelist's eye and a historian's sleuth-like instincts, with the tenacity of both. "Read the whole article here.

- Ami Sands Brodoff
  Montreal Review of Books, Spring, 2014

"The chapters dealing with the actual trial… read like a John Grisham legal thriller."

- Stuart Nulman
  Montreal Times, March 1, 2014

"A fascinating account of a little-known abortion trial that took place in 19th century Montreal involving prominent members of the local Scottish community, including one Robert Notman, brother of William, the well-know photographer." Read the whole article here.

- Shelley Pomerance
  montréal centre_ville, Spring 2014

"Portrait of a Scandal has the air, build-up and tension of a courtroom procedural as historian Elaine Kalman Naves skillfully leads us through the abortion trial of Robert Notman, brother and trusted associate of the great photographer, William Notman. At a time when desperate North American women turned to abortion to end unwanted pregnancies, the judge made Robert’s trial a showcase for his personal vendetta against “this germ of destruction, this moral epidemic” rotting society. In Kalman Naves’ capable hands, Notman’s story is a spellbinding glimpse into the intimate lives of privileged Montrealers, illustrated by stunning photographs of all the principal characters, including Notman’s flamboyant defence lawyer and his nemesis, the plodding but determined prosecutor, and even the doctor who committed suicide [over the case].”

- Elizabeth Abbott