It is 1882 in a French-Canadian village south of Winnipeg, and Justine Bélanger has had her first taste of love at sixteen. After a stolen kiss in the churchyard with her handsome older cousin, Adrien Larence, she dreams of a future with him. But her hopes are dashed when he announces his plans to join the priesthood – one of the few ways for a French Catholic to get ahead in a largely English Protestant population.
Although Adrien’s ambition and passions ultimately get him expelled from the seminary, his attempts to succeed in the English-dominated business community are blocked. That is, until he unexpectedly becomes partners with an unwed and pregnant Irish maid who starts up a business in the flourishing brothels of Winnipeg.
While Adrien follows his own course, Justine finds love and builds her own life as wife, mother, and teacher. Yet Adrien’s path is destined to crisscross her own, and ultimately, her feelings for him force her to make a choice that could affect the rest of her life.
Set against the historical backdrop of Louis Riel and the Saskatchewan Rebellion and a time when French Manitobans found their language, education, and faith endangered and eroded, Spoiled Heritage – The Manitobans brings to life the details of the rich culture, close-knit family life, and day-to-day living of a courageous minority population that faced injustices and a threat to their religious and language rights.