Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair ~ Elizabeth Laird eARC review

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
April 18, 2011
435 pages

It's 17th-century Scotland and sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is living with her more than cantankerous grandmother in a cottage. Her grandmother--Maggie's only family--is a midwife who earns the town's ire by believing in superstitions, not attending church, and not being very nice.

When Grammy Elspeth finally pushes the townspeople--and Mr Macbean in particular--too far, she finds herself and Maggie accused on witchcraft.

Maggie is able to escape the death sentence she's given and makes her way to her father's brother, an uncle she's never met and who previously had no knowledge of her existence.

Her new home with Uncle and Aunt Blair should be a refuge for Maggie, but it is not to be. Uncle Blair, his family and the region are embroiled in a religious battle. One that is turning violent.

Will Maggie ever find the life where she's safe and, dare she say it, a little happy?

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair is as much about a young woman's finding herself as it is about witchcraft or relgion--more so, actually. It's similar to Avi's Crispin series, but... girl-er (not girlier, though, really).

If you read any of the Crispin books (or all of them) and found yourself wondering about Aude (the old woman in Cross of Lead) and wanting to know more about her or just wishing there was another book in the same vein as that series, Maggie Blair is your answer.

Grammy Elspeth reminds me in some ways of Aude and since I found Aude interesting it was really nice to read this book that gave Elspeth a little bit of a story/backstory.

The book is really about Maggie, though. It seems like every time she thinks she's got things set and maybe has herself settled, something throws everything into upheaval and she's forced to reexamine things or even start over. It was a lot of fun to read a book that was a coming of age story, historical fiction about a time I really should know more about, and one with suspense and quite a journey.

I do believe I'll be looking for more from author Elizabeth Laird.


(apologies for not posting this yesterday--apparently just taking my dog to the vet while I'm sick makes me forget things!)

Thank you to NetGalley and HMH for allowing me to read this :)

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