Friday, March 11, 2011

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair - Elizabeth Laird

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  April 18, 2011
Pages:  432
Source:  Review copy from Netgalley
Genre:  Young Adult Christian Historical Fiction

To say I enjoyed this book is an understatement.  Elizabeth Laird has created a setting so detailed you are mentally transported back into 17th century Scotland.  This is the story of 16 year old Maggie who lives with her grandmother after her father’s death.  Her grandmother is not liked by most of the people around her. As a bitter and hateful old woman she spits her venom on everyone around her.  When a newborn dies the neighbors have a way to get rid of her.  They accuse her of being a witch and burn her.  This was often the case during this time period.  It didn’t take much to be accused of witchcraft.  Maggie escapes her grandmother’s fate through the help of a family friend.  She makes her way to her uncle’s house where she is welcomed.  She soon learns things are not going well for her uncle.  The king wants to remove God from the church and set himself up as supreme being.  It is kind of like the story of Daniel in the Bible where those who did not bow to the king and worship him were thrown in the lions den.  In this story the king has men watching the people.  They have secret meetings to try to figure out what to do about the king.  When many of them are arrested Maggie finds herself doing whatever she has to do just to save her family.

Problems with religious differences is not new.  It can be traced back to Bible times.  Elizabeth Laird has used her ancestors to help bring this plight to light.  There was a lot of Scottish history that I probably would not have learned if it had not been for this book.  I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to recommend it to my friends.  Unfortunately they will have to wait until April to read it.  But it is worth the wait.

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