The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

Published: April 18th, 2011 (Originally – May 1st, 2009)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Rating: YA/MG 12+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

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 from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.
Originally published in the UK, this book has a powerful blend of heart-stopping action and thought-provoking themes.

**This review is based on an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy). The final text might be slightly different! Includes some spoilers.**

I really love Elizabeth Laird's book The Garbage King, which I had to read for Grade 7 English, and when I saw this one on NetGalley, I immediately had to request it. Luckily enough, I got to download and read the eGalley. I. LOVED. IT. I seriously love the themes that Laird puts into her books: Trust, Family, Love and Hope in Dark Times. Amazing! The Cover of this one is also much better than the UK version (which I had no idea was released much earlier), and the title perfectly fits the story!

I really found the characters very memorable and significant throughout this novel. First off, we have the loudmouthed, fierce Granny. I think out of all the characters, I would remember her the most for her sarcastic and humorous comments, her fierceness and determination, and her marvelous strength till the end. Tam is a contrast to Granny, as he's shy and scared, yet he's sneaky, yet a loyal friend to Maggie and her Granny. Annie...God I knew she was bad from the start. I felt like slapping her, for so many lies and tricks. UGHH. HATED HER. Mr. Macbean's just as worse, and he deserved what he got.
I love Maggie's other family though, as she escapes and goes to her uncle. Hugh Blair and his family are all really great characters (Love the son Ritchie, and found Nanny and Martha adorable). I really hate though Annie coming in here just made the mood more...dangerous? I don't know. Maybe suspicious. I never trusted her! And then of course, we have Maggie.
I found that Maggie's character like-able, nothing too extreme and nothing too soft, shy or weak. I really love her determination (like her Granny's!) and I admire her courage. But I what I don't really like about the book, or got a bit confused with was the Religious aspect of it all. There's religious wars and all that (all based on the truth I believe) and I had no idea what Covenanters were until I read this book. It was still good for learning about History though, with Witch Trials and Scotland under the rule of the King Charles II. 
NOTE: I honestly thought that the story would only be about the Witch Trials, but boy, was I wrong!


I think the title is fitting for the book due to the secrets and betrayals (duh) during the book. the most low and unbelievably selfish character I've ever read about. I really hate her that much and she is the betrayer for the most part which I really think contributes to the dramatic atmosphere in the book. True, without her character the book would be less interesting with no real plot, but I still hate her.


I really love the setting for this book. I love historical novels and I found the setting dark yet beautiful. I've never been to Scotland (only England and Wales!) and I could really feel transported. As Maggie and Tam go on the quest, I really get to dive into the descriptions of the different towns and areas she visits. Loved it! Hopefully, I'll be able to visit Scotland sometime in the future :D.

I found the ending of the novel satisfying and kind of left with a not-determined ending with possibilities that can only go forward. I'm glad that everything worked out in the end, justice was brought and Maggie had hope in the end for her future.
Overall, this novel is a fantastic insight to the history of Scotland, with religious views and fabulous scenery. Elizabeth Laird has written another amazing novel, one which I think is better than The Garbage King. The tone and mood of the story is very profound and justice makes its way in the end with a great conclusion.

If you like this book, try...


  1. I really liked this book too. :)

    Annie was so frustrating, wasn't she?? Poor Maggie.

    Jennifer of Little Shelf

  2. Now I want it right now! But my library doesn't carry it...I'm gunna go beg. ;) Great review!


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I'll try to visit your blog (if you have one) and comment back!