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The Betrayal of Maggie Blair: Review

Title: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
Author: Elizabeth Laird
Release Date: April 2011
Published By: Houghton Mifflin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 435 pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.58 stars

Review: Maggie Blair lives in seventeenth century Scotland, where one of the worst crimes is to be a witch. When her cantankerous old grandmother is accused of just that, the crime falls on her, too. To avoid being hanged, Maggie escapes to her patriotic uncle's home, but things don't get any easier. She brings danger down upon him and to save him, she has to risk her own life in the process.

I've read a couple books dealing with witch hunts (such as The Crucible, which I had to read for school), but they were all set in Massachusetts during the famous Salem witch trials. It was interesting to read about such a similar topic but in a completely different location - namely, Scotland. Even a lot of historical fiction takes place in the same areas and times, like Victorian England, so THE BETRAYAL OF MAGGIE BLAIR was quite original in terms of setting.

Generally, historical fiction isn't quite my cup of tea. I'm making an effort to read more historicals this year since I don't read a lot of them, but it takes a truly excellent one to make me really enjoy it. Unfortunately, this book didn't quite make it for me. There's nothing exactly wrong with it, but I didn't find myself connecting with Maggie as much as I wanted to.

This is not to say that I didn't like it. I enjoyed the adventures she had to undertake and the characters were possibly the greatest part of the book. The cast was rich and varied, going from cranky old Elspeth to clumsy, adorable Tam to even scheming, bratty Annie. I did feel the plot could drag on a little bit, but there must have been an enormous amount of research involved for 17th century Scotland to be presented so vividly. While this may not be the perfect fit for those who don't enjoy historical fiction that much, fans should definitely add this one to their collection.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.


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