When she is a young girl, Maggie’s parents are killed in a raid on her home in Scotland. Luckily for her, she meets a wounded soldier that she can escort back to his wife, Hannah, who is a skilled midwife. When Alan, the soldier, dies, Hannah takes Maggie in and teaches her everything she knows, until she too passes away of consumption. When Maggie is left on her own, the town turns against her, calling her “Black Maggie” and deciding that she must be a witch. Maggie decides to immigrate to America as an indentured bondswoman to start a new life away from the rumors.
This book was a pleasure to read. I liked Maggie and I wanted her to do well in America. In fact, I liked all of the sympathetic characters – Maggie, Naomi, Seth, the children, and Tom. I enjoyed the image of frontier America that the book gave me; nearly everyone stood by one another when the Indians came. Something else that I particularly enjoyed was the insight into the Indians’ ways as well. They weren’t just villainized. Blevins did a good job of showing us that there were two sides to the conflict, and that white people could be just as savage as Native Americans. Furthermore, it allowed the author to introduce the challenges endured by those who were raised by the Indians but were biologically white, another fascinating feature of the story.
It was a challenge at first to get used to the Scottish dialect used in the book, but I did get accustomed to it in the end and it stopped bothering me. I’m not sure it added to the book, but it didn’t hurt it, either, and I was reminded of the characters’ origins every time they opened their mouths.
I would recommend this book, most likely to people who enjoy historical fiction as it sits firmly in that genre. I certainly enjoyed reading it. Buy this book on Amazon.