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WOMAN IN SCARLET

THE GROUNDBREAKING TRUE STORY OF LIFE AS A WOMAN IN AN ELITE, MALE-ONLY POLICE FORCE

BY KAREN L. ADAMS RELEASE DATE: AUG. 31, 2018

A writer recalls her time as one of the first women in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in this debut memoir.

“On May 23, 1974, my whole life changed,” confides Adams in the opening chapter of her book. This was the date when the RCMP announced that it would begin “accepting female recruits.” The author was a 22-year-old single woman from the Manitoba prairies, and the news made her spring out of bed “like it was Christmas morning.” The memoir describes the recruitment process—some of the tests were “gender-biased” toward men, and Adams almost failed the eye exam. She goes on to recall her training, ranging from driving to self-defense, before graduating and receiving her first posting in Thompson, Manitoba. The author explains the challenges facing a female Mountie, from being “scrutinized at every turn” to being sexually assaulted by a higher ranking male officer. Adams describes day-to-day duties, including going undercover to investigate drug dealers and dealing with drunks. She also explores the difficulties of being a single mother while serving with the RCMP and how being sexually assaulted resulted in her silently suffering from PTSD, which later affected her daughters. Adams’ memoir is a no-nonsense confessional: “My life in the RCMP was a constant fight for survival. That meant taking my negative and/or positive emotions and filing them away, never dealing with them.” Her recollections of being sexually abused are gut-wrenching but she addresses her resultant PTSD with courage and determination: “I refuse to let it identify who I am or to diminish my past accomplishments.” A trailblazer for women in the RCMP, the author remains modest throughout the book and is unafraid to throw in some wry wit: “I noticed that the person described had blue eyes. But the person standing in front of me had dark brown eyes. In the police universe, this is what you would call a clue.” While Adams’ childhood is covered in an addendum—it reveals why serving with the RCMP became her dream—this information would have been more useful at the beginning of the book. Still, with its endearingly straight-talking approach, the author’s enlightening story should prove inspirational and informative for women eager to follow in her footsteps.

An engaging, no-frills account of the challenges and rewards of being a female Mountie.

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