Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
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.
Review:

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair has been sitting in my TBR pile for much longer than I liked to admit. I'm not really sure why exactly. Perhaps it was the long and somewhat intimidating length, or the mixed things I had been hearing from others regarding it. Either way, it sat unread for a while. Recently, though, I decided to give a try, and....much to my surprise, I ended up really enjoying it! Combining a historical setting, a strong, dedicated main character, and descriptive writing, this one had nearly everything I want in a good historical YA and much, much more!

With both her mother and father long gone, Maggie Blair has always lived with her unruly and headstrong grandmother. It's always been a simple life. They live in a little tiny cottage by the beach, and most times than none, they have very little to go around. However, everything changes for both of them when they are accused of being witches by their fellow townspeople. Knowing that she has no choice other than running, she   quickly finds her way to her estranged uncle's door, hoping for shelter and maybe the family she has always desired.  Not everything is as it seems, though, and when a surprising guest appears, everything will begin to crumble once again, but this time Maggie's not backing down. She's going to save everyone, even if it may be the last thing she does....

There were many things I adored about this one, but one of the biggest factors was Elizabeth Laird's writing. She has such a knack for fully capturing so much beauty yet so much sadness and horror in one scene. I especially loved how easily she transported me to seventeenth-century Scotland with her descriptions alone. More times than one, I felt like I was there with Maggie while she fought for the future she deserved. I also give her credit for not shying away from the grit and toughness people encountered during this time, espically when I ended up learning something new because of it.

Another high point was the characters. Maggie alone was someone I adored reading about simply based on how she evolved from a timid, diffident girl into a brave and nearly fearless person who fought for what she believed was right. I have to admit at the beginning I was a bit put off by her lack of fight, but as the book continued, I realized that Maggie had a lot more inside waiting to come out. Adding to this, I really enjoyed the secondary characters as well such as Tam and Maggie's grandmother. Both of which ended up surprising me in more ways than one. Even the villains in this one where created in an intriguing way to say the least!

The plot at this one moved at steady pace, and while it relied more on the characters and the writing to move it along, I still was simply spellbound by it all. Plus, at times it even ended up throwing a surprise twist at me, one that I didn't see coming at all. I also really enjoyed the ending Elizabeth provided. It wasn't exactly how I wanted it to end, but still I was happy with it nonetheless.

Well written and nothing short of amazing, The Betrayal of Maggie Blair ended up being just what I was looking for: a thoughtful and engaging read. Therefor, if you love a historical fiction, pick this one up ASAP, and even if you don't, I seriously suggest you give it a try.

One thing's for sure though: Elizabeth has certainly gained a dedicated reader with me based on this book alone.

Grade: B+

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair is now available!

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

4 comments:

  1. I was very impressed with this: such a rich historical tapestry!

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  2. I enjoyed this one too, and it has stuck with me. I still remember the sort of haunting feeling to the story...

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  3. I really loved how wonderfully Laird wrote the time/setting! It was so intriguing,

    Great review, Lauren! :)

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  4. Great review. I love reading about this time period in history.

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