Tuesday, December 28, 2010

REVIEW - "The Betrayal of Maggie Blair"

The Betrayal of Maggie BlairThe Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door. 
Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.
Originally published in the UK, this book has a powerful blend of heart-stopping action and thought-provoking themes.  description from Goodreads.

Maggie lives with her grandmother in seventeenth century Scotland. They live a simple life, her parents have both died and her grandmother is know as a midwife and a healer using the old ways, herbs and spells to help people get well.  She is also known for being ornery, and kind of mean at times.

It is a time of great spiritual upheaval and persecution. The King has decreed that he is head of the church and the people who do not go to church and/or agree with the decree are heavily persecuted and fined.

Maggie's grandmother delivers a baby that is sickly and tries to do one of her healing spells upon the baby boy, but is stopped by his god fearing father. (Who has his own sins to worry about.) The baby dies several weeks later and she is said to have cursed him, she given a sham trial and convicted of witchcraft. Maggie, her granddaughter who is not blessed with the old ways is also convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to die along with her grandmother.  I won't tell you about her escape from execution, but she knows a few people who are pretty crafty.

This begins the tale of Maggie. The story is a slow moving, but an emotional tale. I was very interested in the spiritual battle of the times, the intolerance to differences. Many convicts were sent to the colonies, the beginnings of the country that I love living in. I enjoyed the history that went into this book.  There is a person I want to call a "hag" (Annie), even though she is young and pretty. She lies, cheats, steals, etc to give herself the upper hand.  I was thrilled to see what happens to her.

I received a copy of this for review from Netgalley.  It will be released in April 2011.

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