Name: Renée Julia Pattinson
Date of Birth: February 23rd, 1944
Hometown: Kincraig, Badenoch & Strathspey, Scotland
Height: 6ft 1in
Estate Agent for the Isle of Hue, Renée Pattinson has always been local to the Highlands of Scotland, having been born and raised in the nearby region of Badenoch & Strathspey. Renée’s life with her husband Alexander Pattinson could have once been considered one of bliss, a strong family unit complimented by their young daughter Siobhan. This was brought to a sudden end when, for the sake of an extramarital affair, Alexander walked-out on his wife and daughter. With her husband’s sudden departure, Renée now faced the challenge of juggling a job and raising her emotionally damaged daughter alone, a challenge she was determined would not beat her.
Though not always having the answers to her daughter’s problems, Renée continues to be there for her whenever possible, and is always appreciative of the help and love that her girlfriend, Ebony Larsson, is willing to give.
Seeing as the Outsiders series places more focus on Siobhan, it was only natural that Renée would get some extra screen time compared to her small but important role in Maddie on the Island Hue, as well as appearing flashbacks during Volume 3 of Maddie in America. With her extra appearance also comes a bit more development, which was honestly great fun to do considering there’s not many middle-aged characters in this story.
Renée has always been a fun character to include in my stories, being a mixture of emotional stability and comfort for Siobhan, but also taking the time to tease and have fun with her. The idea behind Renée from the start was to be an open-minded parent who would love their child regardless, which is exactly what she does. It makes no difference whether Siobhan is in a relationship with another girl, what matters is the fact that she’s still her daughter who she loves more than anyone else and loves her in return.
It is in this capacity that she forms a true bond of friendship with Ebony Larsson. Although Siobhan is her daughter, Renée doesn’t always have the answers to her problems due largely to the generational difference between them as well as matters she can’t really comprehend; namely sexuality. While Renée tries her best to understand Siobhan’s fear of hate and prejudice, without having experienced it herself she can’t really put herself in her daughter’s shoes to understand the pervasive and near constant anxiety she feels.
This is where Ebony comes in.
As a Lesbian herself, Ebony has a far greater understanding of what Siobhan is going through and has the strength of character and loyalty to always be there for her. As such, Renée appreciates her constant help and affection no end, having no qualms about what they do to show their passion for one another just as long as it’s within reason. At the same time, Ebony is always there to help around the house and be a constant support through whatever situations may arise; she essentially having become Renée’s daughter-in-law.
At the start of the series, and throughout the previous Maddie series, the features I wanted to emphasise regarding Renée’s situation is that she’s not lonely following the divorce of her husband, but she can sometimes feel a pang of resentment. As you can imagine, coming home one day to find a note saying your husband had gone and walked off with another woman leaving you suddenly alone with the task of raising a now emotionally damaged child, juggling a job and managing finances can result in you being a little peeved.
However, perhaps the biggest change that she undergoes is her relationship with Harold Wisley, another divorcee who the pair find friendship and eventual affection for. I realise that divorce appears to be common in my stories, but to be honest it’s a staple of modern day British culture. Before the 1950’s and 60’s it was real taboo for man and wife to separate, but by the 70’s and 80’s it was incredibly common for people to pick up and drop spouses. I seem to recall the figure today is that 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce, but whether or not marriage is seen to be a relevant part of modern society or some medieval concept I won’t discuss here.
Regardless, the most important point I wanted to convey within the love arc of Renée and Harry is the budding romance of a middle-aged couple. As commonly noted by storytellers and artists, these days there aren’t enough romances between older couples; the primary focus being on young, virile Romeo and Juliet types who are full of passion and gusto. The relationship between Harry and Renée, while there, isn’t based on massive amounts of passion and physical intimacy; in fact it doesn’t extend beyond a warm embrace or a snuggle. It’s not that there’s no passion to their romance, far from it. It’s more that unlike the young and impulsive love of Siobhan and Ebony, Renée and Harry’s is more based on the comforting presence and embrace of their significant other.
It doesn’t need to be full of tongue twisting kisses or hours of lovemaking, it’s a love based on sentiment, which I felt suited these characters and their somewhat meek nature down to the ground.
Of course as the series progresses, this romance will be explored in more detail as the pair settle down into a cosy little routine. 🙂