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Review: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

in a sentence or so: when a beached whale shows up on Maggie's doorstep, she senses a big change coming.  mere weeks later she is falsely accused of witchcraft, narrowly escapes her death, and flees to long lost family.  Maggie finds that they too are struggling with their own set of problems. namely, the growing religious oppression from the King. Maggie is trying to find her way in life with her past clinging too close and her future looming too far ahead in a country that is uncertain, unsafe, and her home.

to say Maggie's Granny is crabby would be a HUGE understatement.  she's the crotchety-est of the crotchety, and scares the neighbors and townsfolk into a hushed respect. she's always ruffling feathers in Sclapsie Bay, Scotland, but she goes just a little too far and stirs up more trouble than she can handle. soon, the town is turned against them both and it's all Maggie can do to get away and survive.

Maggie hopes for open arms from her extended family, but is met with a lifestyle unlike any she expected. it is through her new home that she is able to finally learn to read and write, but also that she learns of the greater Troubles plaguing Scotland. her uncle is a key resister and is drawing far too much attention to the family. now, toss in Annie, a horrible, nasty, lying B from Maggie's past she'd MUCH rather forget, and you've got a culmination of obstacles almost too great for anyone to overcome. but Maggie has to try.

i feel like i just can't do the summary justice. there are three core plots to this story: Maggie's accused of witchcraft, Maggie discovers family, and Maggie journeys to find justice for that family.  the story flowed in a beautiful narrative that i fell into step with immediately.  there are prevalent religious tones to the story, which totally makes sense as Scotland was going through a serious religious shift at the time (17th century). Maggie struggles with where she fits inside of all of the religious tension. she's not a witch, but she's not a church-goer either...so where does that leave her?

power was definitely a recurring theme. Granny wielded power to her own destruction. her uncle struggles for power against the King who wants power over the church. Annie (the worst of the worst villains EVER) wields power over Maggie and holds her hostage with her threats. Maggie struggles to find how she can use the power given to her to do what is right...as soon as she can figure out what that is.

i adored Maggie. her voice was so gentle and concerned. she truly wrestled with her decisions and her own self-consciousness. she's uncertain, but never whiny. she just felt so real.   i'd go on another journey with Maggie any day.

fave quote: "And then she was off, and I watched her running after her loathsome master, as if she was afraid that I would call the Devil down on her. Which, to be honest, I would have done - if I'd any inkling how." (88 | 435 Nook)

fix er up: while definitely polished and well written, i couldn't help feeling as if the language lacked something in the historical feel. this certainly had a more contemporary vibe than i was expecting.

title: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
author: Rebecca Laird
genre: Historical Fiction
release date: April 2011

[hey FTC, i received a copy of this from NetGalley and reviewed it without compensation]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


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