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Quest for a Kelpie (Kelpies) [Paperback]

Frances Mary Hendry
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 5.99
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Book Description

24 May 2007 Kelpies
It is 1745, and young Jeannie Main is a tough fisher lass in Nairn in north-east Scotland. She lives a simple, quiet life until a gypsy warns her of a greater fate than she ever dreamed: that she, a poor working girl, would decide the fate of two kings. As Jeannie tries to comes to terms with her destiny, she is plunged into adventure and danger which could determine the future of her country. One final test remains: risking her life by riding the Kelpie, the most feared monster in all of Scotland. This is a fast-moving, thrilling story set at one of the crucial moments in Scotland's history. It was the winner of the first BBC 'Quest for a Kelpie' prize.

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Quest for a Kelpie (Kelpies) + The Boy with the Bronze Axe (Kelpies)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Floris Books; New edition edition (24 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863155804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863155802
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frances Hendry lives in a small town on the shore of the Moray Firth in Scotland, with an invisible Siamese cat.

She's a bookoholic, with usually four or five books on the go simultaneously in different rooms. She enjoys reading history, at least until men started to wear trousers. As a romantic, she loves fantasy books, the sword'n'sorcery kind, and adventure. But she dislikes both soppy romance and sadism, though there always seems to be a fair bit of both love and violence in her books - maybe just because some of her books are about exciting historical times and events, fairly accurate in the facts with imaginary people slotted in.

As an English teacher for many years, she learned what bits of a book her pupils skipped reading, and takes care not to write like that. Her books are mostly, to her annoyance, listed as for young adults; yes, some are for youngsters, but they're not childish. She says she writes for anybody who can read. Her first two fan letters were from a boy of 8 and a man of 94, so 'young adults' covers a fair bit of ground.

Both her first 2 books won awards from the Scottish Arts Council, and a later one was chosen by New York Public Libraries as one of its best 100 books. So she must be doing something right.

Product Description


'This book gives a good picture of life at the time. A very skilful use of the first person. An exciting story, a detailed and authentic historical background and even a touch of traditional legend. What more could anyone ask for?' -- Mary Moffat, The Historical Novels Review 'Like Mollie Hunter's novels, this is based on historical fact and gives an excellent sense of the period. The language of the people of the north east is effectively rendered, but does not create a barrier to the reader.' -- Treasure Island: A guide to Scottish fiction for young readers aged 10-14, Summer 2003 'This fast-moving thriller, set at one of the crucial moments in Scotland's history, is bound to be a big hit with young readers - and no doubt a few adults also!' -- Stewart Peterson, Greenock Telegraph 'A new edition of an award-winning classic children's tale which will appeal to younger readers today.' -- The Scots Magazine, May 2008

About the Author

Frances Mary Hendry won the first BBC 'Quest for a Kelpie' competition, and has gone on to write over a dozen books for children, most recently the Ladiatrix Trilogy. She lives in Nairn, Scotland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, loved it, loved it! 25 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Characters were great! Loved the era and the 'scots tongue'. Wish there was a sequel. Will have to check what else this author has written.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jacobite Story 4 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book to read to my class during their topic on the Jacobites. Although I think it might be quite hard for some children to read on their own, reading to them was a different matter. The children enjoyed the story and some characters became more real to them because of this story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Sally Watson, pay attention! 28 Sep 2009
By Thomasina - Published on
I was shocked to see the lukewarm response to this book by the preveious two reveiwers--in fact I was surprised to see only two reviews. Perhaps there are more on Amazon under a different edition.

I just finished this book, and I have to say that it's the perfect book for anyone who loves reading about Scotland and the period of Bonnie Prince Charlie and who also has devoured Sally Watson's books over the years. (Most of Sally Watson's books are now back in print.) The difference is that this book was written in 1986 and Watson wrote most of hers in the 70s. Also the author, Frences Hendry, who went on after this one, her first, to write many books is a Scottish historian, and Sally Watson is a Northwest Oregon author who researched many different eras and areas of the world.

I don't agree with the previous author that the plot is confusing. I wasn't confused at all and also had no trouble following the names. There is a great deal of authentic, period Scottish dialogue; however, there's an extensive glossery of terms at the beginning of the book so no one could miss it. Perhaps it's the dialogue that confused the previous readers. I don't think most avid readers of historical fiction would have any trouble understanding the dialogue, character's names, or plot.

I thoroughly enjoyed the heroine, Jeannie Main, who continually gets into scrapes, beginning with helping to avert a clash of the fishermen with the gypsies, which puts the gypsy family in her debt and launches all of the the exciting, sad, joyous, sometimes strange and wonderful events to come in this book. Througout most of the book, Jeannie is a housemaid for a well-to-do family in the town as was her mother before her. She's treated almost like family. The climax of the book comes when first the highlanders come to raid the town and then the Redcoats come and do similar things.

The patriarchal head of the gypsy clan, Margaret Davidson, often uses her older children to help and warn Jeannie, and she has the second sight and has told Jeannie that she'll make one king and break another and that she'll ride the Kelpie, a mythical beast who is said to drown those who try to ride it. Jeannie does ride this beast, but it's left to the reader to decide if she rode a kelpie to save her family (the successful master of a kelpie gets a wish) or if it is merely a cruel English officer's horse.

There's a bit of romance in this book, just as with a good Sally Watson book. My only criticism is that several of the characters needed to have been fleshed out, particularly Celia, who is supposed to have been very, very dear to Jeannie (when Jeannie writes a letter to her great-great granddaugher) and yet rarely appears and rarely has any dialogue. Mistress Clark and Mistress Main, Jeannie's mother, and Margaret Davidson, three adult women, are the only characters who have been fully developed apart from Jeannie herself.

But in any case, Quest for a Kelpie is an exciting book; in it I learned a great deal about the period and about the Scottish lowlanders, how they lived, their protestant worldview and customs, their many daily and seasonal challenges (including a bout of an unfamiliar plague, typhoid,brought by an American ship). I also discovered that the lowlanders had to deal with both the Highlanders and the British in a way similar to what happened in the US during the civil war.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read by the author of the excellent Quest for a Maid 2 Aug 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good read by the author of the excellent Quest for a Maid. Enjoyable book with a female lead character set in an interesting time period.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I hoped for ... 8 Nov 2003
A Kid's Review - Published on
After reading the amazingly fantastic book, Quest for a Maid, I came upon this book, which is by the same author, hoping to have the same experience. This was not the case. This book was confusing, with too many names to keep straight. It was a good plot, yet not very well told. I kept counting the pages till I'd be done. It follows Jeannie, a young girl, in her adventures. It is during the 1700s and is set in Scotland. Jeannie experiences pain, death, meaning, belief, and much more, but after a while you don't care what happens. You shouldn't feel a need to read this book, and if you are looking for a exciting, well-written book, read Quest for a Maid instead.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok book 29 Nov 2000
By "caitlin1234" - Published on
Format:Library Binding
This book was very hard to follow, but it had an interesting plot.
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