At first I thought this might be yet another run of the mill ‘persecuted-for-witchcraft’ tale. How glad I am that there’s more to it than that!
Laird’s book gives the reader a good sense of Scotland’s geography and living conditions along the coast and in the cities in the seventeenth century. I had never heard of the Covenanters before, or the ‘Killing Time.’ (I think I’m still a little confused and need to read up a bit more.) The characters could all be real people: none are wholly good or bad, but a mix of both with individual moralities and politics.
Though this is in many ways a YA book, there are repeated references to adultery and to the sex trade. Laird does not hide the frequency with women are propositioned, threatened, and use favors to secure their survival. It’s a fact of history. Readers should be aware and choose whether to read or give to their teens as fits their own comfort.
I very much enjoyed Maggie’s growing into her self and into her personal power. She makes the cool girl protagonists shelf!