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The Betrayal of Maggie Blair

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  709 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door.

Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family fro
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Hardcover, 420 pages
Published April 18th 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published March 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,532)
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Wendy Darling
Firstly: although Maggie Blair is accused of being a witch, readers should know that this is a work of historical fiction and it has no supernatural elements whatsoever. The book's description and cover art could probably use a bit of adjusting to make the focus of the book a little more apparent.

Even taken as a work of historical fiction, however, this story is interesting but it's not particularly riveting. It's well written enough, but it lacks a certain urgency and passion that you'd expect
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Miranda the Gayvenger
Mar 13, 2011 Miranda the Gayvenger rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of YA historical fiction
Source: ARC received from NetGalley

Trigger Warning(s): Maggie’s grandmother is emotionally and verbally abusive, sometimes physically. There’s also quite a bit of torture in the third part of the book.

I really enjoyed this book. Mostly it was because I was heavily invested in Maggie’s tale--I wanted to see her finally happy, after all the horrid things she has to live through. I wanted things to turn out right for her. While the ending may not work for some people, I myself was quite happy with
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W.
Nov 20, 2010 W. rated it liked it
This story was very well written, but if the back cover copy had clearly stated what was inside, I would never have picked it up.

Billed as a spiritual/metaphysical story about a young girl accused of witchcraft, I expected more of the story to focus on magic and charms. Instead I was bombarded with a steady stream of psalms and scripture. I eventually had to skip the larger portions of this to continue with the story. If I had not been reading this book to review it, I would have abandoned it al
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Page (One Book At A Time)
I was hoping the mix of historical fiction, the idea of witches, and the young adult genre would make a good combination. In the end, the story was ok but was very heavy in the biblical references and a slow read.

Maggie Blair has had a hard life. Her mother died during childbirth and her father died during when of the cattle drive river crossings. She's been living with her grandmother who seems cold and is not very well liked by the community. Maggie longs to be normal and I think to feel loved
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Charlie
Jan 22, 2011 Charlie rated it really liked it
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair is a Christian historical fiction novel that was inspired by family research. Certain extra characters in the story derive from actual people connected with the author's family and include historical details discovered at the location. The most fascinating is knowing Hugh Blair was an actual historical person. The journey begins and ends with Maggie. Given my own experience with tracing my family tree, I can appreciate the journey a person goes on and the self discov ...more
Bookworm1858
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
420 pages
YA; Historical
4/5 stars

Source: Free e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book; I knew there was something about witches and Scotland in the past but what did the title mean by "betrayal?" And then I saw it was quite long (for a YA book) and I was worried about if the story could be sustained-I generally encourage shorter works, whether it be book
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Trupti Dorge
Nov 11, 2015 Trupti Dorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, favorites
I picked this book because I love reading anything and everything about witches and witch trials. Also it’s set in 17th century Scotland which is just icing on the cake. The Witching Hour is not about witches or witch trials entirely though. It’s about a girl called Maggie who lives on the Isle of Bute with her grandmother who is bitter and angry with life and all that fate has done to her. She can’t help but turn all the hate on the neighbors and the people around her. When one of the new-born ...more
Addie
Apr 06, 2011 Addie rated it liked it
Grade: B

Brief Synopsis: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair is a young adult historical fiction novel, probably best categorized as an adventure story. Our protag, the “Maggie Blair” of the title, and her grandmother are wrongfully accused of witchcraft by the peasant community on their small, Scottish island, and Maggie is forced to flee to the mainland in order to escape hanging.

Writing Style & Plot: The novel is written in first-person (an extremely popular trend in YA lit at the moment, I’ve n
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Mimi
Apr 02, 2012 Mimi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teenagers
This book was so many things wrapped up in one novel!

1. The author based some of this novel on her own family history, which made it all the more compelling to read, knowing that events just like this really occurred. This book was a really well done piece historical fiction.

2. The book was very interesting, because I know pretty much nothing about Scotland during that time period, so it was fascinating (and at times horrifying) to learn about it.

3. I loved the main character! This is such a bea
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Kristina
Jan 16, 2011 Kristina rated it liked it
Dislikes: This book wasn't what I was expecting after reading the description. I was thinking more along paranormal lines to lead to the accusation of witchcraft. Instead this book is more about the religious struggles in 17th century Scotland, Church vs. State. While this did not detract from the book, I did have to switch gears while reading. The main problem I had with this book, even though it is about religious persecution, it was over done and preachy at times. There were a lot of scriptur ...more
Jessica Harrison
Feb 18, 2012 Jessica Harrison rated it liked it
full review at Cracking the Cover
Elizabeth Laird has a gift for creating a mood. From her very first lines to the last sentence on the last page, I felt the rolling nature of her prose. It was as if a narrator with a Scottish brogue was inside my head. Consider this excerpt from her first page:

It was a cold day in December, the sun barely risen, and I’d pulled my shawl tightly round my head and shoulders, but it wasn’t only the chill of the wet sand beneath my bare feet that made me shiver. Ther
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cecilia
Mar 20, 2011 cecilia rated it really liked it
Shelves: blue-covers
What a remarkable historical piece! The Betrayal Of Maggie Blair weaves an incredible story, rich in history and characters, sure to enchant you to turn the pages faster to find the hard truths of witchcraft and heresy.


At first, I could not make head or tails of Maggie Blair. Did I like her? Did I find her too naive and easily swayed by charismatic preachers? Will she be hanged or burnt on the false accusations of witchcraft? As these questions churned in my head, I followed Maggie's plight and
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Savannah (Books With Bite)
Apr 05, 2011 Savannah (Books With Bite) rated it really liked it
One thing I dislike, is the ignorance people have when it comes to the bible. People think that just because they think they know it, they know whats best for everyone. The Betrayal of Maggie Blair is just that. Religious people ignorant in what they read that they killed, hurt, accused innocent people, women mostly of being witches. And whats worse is those church going people who put everyone down using the bible are worse then everyone else.


This story is very touching but also hurtful to read
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Jean Valjean (OG 2010)
Dec 20, 2010 Jean Valjean (OG 2010) rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, historical
In this book, we’re introduced to Maggie Blair who is orphaned and lives with her Grandmother in 17th Century rural Scotland. The book is peppered with references to Laird’s own ancestry and landmarks, and has some pretty solid writing. A shame to say what a disappointment the book was. I was completely bombarded with scripture and bible verses and it seemed that the main focus of the story was God and Religion which makes sense, as Maggie is wrongfully accused of being a witch. I think that Lai ...more
Penelope
Apr 26, 2011 Penelope rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published on my blog: The Reading Fever.

Before I gush about why I loved this book, I just need to say that I love the cover. From a photography standpoint, the photo is spectacular; the silhouette of the girl, against the expansive background and cloudy sky, with her reflection in the foreground...it's gorgeous! I also love the title, which fits the book perfectly.

Now, about the book: I think the strongest point of The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, is that it features a se
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LH Johnson
Mar 27, 2012 LH Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Laird is an author capable of very great things. The Garbage King is, quite frankly, superb and I picked up The Witching Hour on the strength of my experience of this book.

The Witching Hour (also published in the US as The Betrayal of Maggie Blair) is a fine, exciting and moving tale of seventeenth century Scotland. Maggie and her Grandmother are accused of witchcraft on their remote island of Bute and Maggie's world begins to break apart from that point.

Laird is a capable, strong wr
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Ashlee
Dec 28, 2011 Ashlee rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This isn't a typical book for me. It's not exactly angst-ridden (as I categorized it) but it is pretty... tense, I guess. Regardless, I liked the novel.
***Minor Spoiler Below***

***Also Some Cursing***

***So Beware***

Maggie Blair is only 16 when the book begins. She's pretty useless and kind of a coward I think. Her granny's cruel to her, they're poor, and have little to eat. Because of her granny's temper and cruelty, the shit hits the fan, Granny (and Maggie) is condemned as a witch, and the pe
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Janine
Apr 21, 2011 Janine rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Witte
This book should really go under the heading Not What You Think It Is. Whoever wrote the flap copy did readers a disservice by highlighting the witchcraft aspects of the book and not giving an accurate description of what it is, so I'll do that now.

A historical young adult novel about how a Scottish girl deals with religious persecution. Maggie is accused of being a witch, but there's nothing paranormal or suspenseful about this story.
Emily Meuse
Jan 08, 2014 Emily Meuse rated it it was amazing

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair was an amazing book. Sure, it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it did leave a great impression on me. The book is about Maggie Blair, a teenage girl living with her temperamental grandmother in a threadbare cottage on a small island off the coast of Scotland. Her grandmother is not the friendliest person to their neighbors, and likes to threaten them often with curses and threats of spells. Even with being the meanest person in town, she is still a well-resp
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Cynthia
Jun 16, 2014 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
Beginning with being accused of being a witch, escape, discovery of family she didn't know she had, coming to the aid of the head of that family who has been arrested for being a "covenator" (refusing to acknowledge the King of England as the head of the church, and her ultimate return to her home with the knowledge that she had the finances to live as she wishes, the life of Maggie Blair comes alive. Elizabeth Laird did an outstanding job of creating realistic characters and a historical fictio ...more
Tara Chevrestt
DNF. I made it to the halfway point and all the characters were angering me beyond belief. Everybody is incredibly ignorant and easily brain washed. Not for me.
Maria Longley
The 17th Century, just like any other, is a complex place. This is a novel about the politics and religious goings on in Scotland at the time and is very much a historical novel - despite what the blurb at the back says (proving the point, yet again, that the blurb has often very little baring on the novel at hand). Maggie Blair and her grandmother are accused of being witches at the start of the novel and things don't get much more cheerful after that. What I really valued was the complex chara ...more
Alyssa
~3.5 out of 5 stars~

Lately I severely struggle with reviews - probably due to the books I've been reading. Miss Laird certainly wove quite a complex novel.

The story focuses on Maggie Blair, and is told quite simply from her perspective. Both her parents being deceased, she now lives with her grandmother (Granny) - the only family she is aware of, besides her uncle. That is, until both her and her grandmother are accused of witchcraft. Although Granny is persecuted, Maggie manages to escape. Thu
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Big Book Theory
May 10, 2014 Big Book Theory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie grows up as an orphan with her grandmother after the tragic death of her mother and father. Her grandmother is accused of being a witch and this leads to Maggie having to flee from the island of Brute where she has lived. She knows no other place and has never ventured further than six miles away from their cottage by the sea.
In Scotland she finds her uncle and she moves in with them. Here though they have their own troubles with the King wanting to dictate to which religion the Scottish
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Shelley
Oct 03, 2011 Shelley rated it liked it
I gave this book only 3 stars because it wasn't at all what I had thought. I found it by browsing the new books section and after seeing the cover and reading the short little quote on the inside front cover, I thought it would be a book I'd like.

"In seventeenth-century Scotland, everyone knows the devil is real. Everyone knows that witches exist. Everyone knows that saying the wrong thing can get you hanged...." Then it goes on to say how Maggie Blair's grandmother is accused of witchcraft. Th
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Rosa
Jun 07, 2011 Rosa rated it liked it
Maggie lives on a small island off the coast of Scotland with her grandmother. Her grandmother is the local midwife and a very harsh, angry and difficult woman, making her a prime target to be seen as a witch. Maggie is tried and found guilty along with her however she manages to escape to her Uncle Blair's home, only to find herself in more danger then ever because of her Uncle's religious beliefs.

This book was definitely not what I expected and that was all because of Maggie. At the books ope
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Laura
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair follows a young girl as she is forced to leave home in order to escape a death sentence for the conviction of being a witch. I was read this book free through NetGalley.

The titular character was one I enjoyed because she was a fighter, although not in the literal way that say Katsa of Graceling was a fighter. Rather she didn't give up in the face of overwhelming odds and she proved her strength in a rather realistic way.

I greatly enjoyed Maggie's journey, the places
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Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair is nothing like what I would have expected it to be. It sounds like it’s a paranormal book with witches and the like, but it’s much more a historical take on a girl accused of being a witch and the lengths she goes to to save her own life, and later discover who she is.

Maggie Blair starts off as being a shy, meager girl, but her growth is astounding. By the end of the book, she is far stronger and more independent than I ever would have imagined. Her journey to get t
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Phoebe
Aug 09, 2011 Phoebe rated it liked it
Maggie Blair and her outspoken, bad-tempered grandmother are condemned as witches in a rousing start to a lengthy and absorbing historical tale set in 17th-century Scotland. Maggie escapes, thanks to family friend/vagabond Tam, and manages to flee to her uncle Blair's farm. For the first time in her life Maggie finds enough to eat, a clean, cozy existence, and something like a real family--but then it appears that she is still in danger, since her aunt and uncle are Covenanters: loyal only to th ...more
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Laird was born in New Zealand in 1943, the fourth of five children. Her father was a ship's surgeon; both he and Laird's mother were Scottish. In 1945, Laird and her family returned to Britain and she grew up in South London, where she was educated at Croydon High School.
When she was eighteen, Laird started teaching at a school in Malaysia. She decided to continue her adventurous life, even though
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