Criticised on publication in 1945 for its explicit violence, "Scarlet Feather" was Joan Grant's only book for adults set among the Native Americans. As with all of Grant's novels, "Scarlet Feather" conveyed a positive message within its story - that of Piyanah, a young girl who demanded new freedoms and an end to her tribe's sexual segregation and brutality. Trained and educated with the young braves, Piyanah develops strength and courage, and must overcome a series of ordeals to prove herself worthy of the Scarlet Feather, and succession as the tribal chief.
Joan Grant became aware as a child of her gift of 'far memory' - an ability to recall in detail previous incarnations, both male and female, in other centuries and other lands. The first of her 'novels', Winged Pharaoh, was in instant bestseller, and all of her seven historical novels have been highly praised for their extraordinary vividness and richly diverting detail.