The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
Maggie’s granny has never been easy to live with, but when she is condemned of witchcraft on the false evidence of a serving girl named Annie, Maggie loses the only family she’s ever known. Maggie, who was also condemned by Annie’s false witness, escapes to her Uncle Blair’s home in another county and begins to find peace when his family accepts her as one of their own. But then Annie shows up, worming her way into the Blairs’ hearts, and Maggie knows that trouble will follow for all of them. When trouble does come, Maggie knows that she is the only one who can help the Blairs recover from Annie’s lies and betrayal.
This is an engaging story that combines the history of 17th-century Scotland with a modern ‘mean girl’ character. The drama between Maggie and Annie drives this novel but does not take away from its setting or its interesting lessons about 17th-century life and politics. In addition, Laird explores in the story how religion tore apart Great Britain and even small communities within Scotland while neither preaching religion nor dismissing it as archaic. Finally, the characterization in this story is quite good, the main individuals not being stock characters. Maggie is a strong young woman, but still has a lot to learn about overcoming her own weaknesses. Annie is horrible, but pitiable. Granny is repulsive, yet brave, and Tam, the thief, is weak, but good-hearted.