Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book review: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

My summary:
The story of Maggie takes place in Scotland during the 17th century. The times are turbulent and one must be careful and keep ones tongue in check or one might be accused of doing spells and being a witch.

Maggie lives with her grumpy old grandmother in a small cottage. The grandmother is the towns "
medicine woman", she helps people with minor health problems and helps deliver babies. Grandmothers only problem is her foul temper and that gets the two women in deep. Maggie barely escapes hanging..

My thoughts:
This historical novel takes place in a period that in Scottish history is referred to as The Killing Time. It's not difficult to understand that these were cruel times, many innocent people lost there lives. The Presbyterian Covenanter's fought the kings men for their right to practice Christianity in their own way, they didn't want anything to do with the king's bishops. Sadly religion has been used as an excuse to exercise power, cruelty and war, and it is still so in some parts of our world to this day.

This is a story of what life might have been in those days for a sixteen year old girl, Maggie, trying to find her way in life. It all feels very real, except for the freedom she has, I would imagine girls having very little to say over their own life in those days. It mightn't be so weird that it all feels real since a large part of the story is based on the true experiences of one of the characters in this novel, Henry Blair, a distant relative of the author. A handful of the characters in this novel were actually people living and dying in The Killing Times. I just love the fact that this is the true story, with a lot of fiction mixed, of people living at that time. It gives them new life in a way.

The grandmother in this story is mean on the outside, I do believe she acts like she does to take care of her little family. Sadly no ones told her that scaring people and telling them off isn't really such a good idea, it'll make people turn on you one day. 

The cover:
Stunning and wonderfully linked with the story.

My rating of this book:
3.75 stars out of 5

Want a second opinion? Check out these reviews written by some of my book blogging friends:

Want to know more?
Add The Betrayal of Maggie Blair to your Goodreads wishlist.
Visit Elizabeth Laird's homepage 
Read Elizabeth's blog 

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair  by Elizabeth Laird
Published: April 18th 2011(first time in 2009)
Pages(hardcover): 435
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 
ISBN: 0547341261 (ISBN13: 9780547341262)
Full disclosure: Received for honest review from publisher via Netgalley.

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and on-line book stores such as Amazon or The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store does by the way have free shipping to about 100 countries.  


  1. Interesting review. Being Scottish I really enjoy reading books set in our history.


    I'm a new follower!! :D

  2. Great cover indeed. But yes sad times, I always get angry over things like that

  3. Thanks for dropping by my blog, you've gained yourself a new follower! Love the header and the general feel of this place - total escapism!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)