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The Witching Hour Paperback – Unabridged, 2 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Reprints edition (2 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330472100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330472104
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 611,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Laird was born in New Zealand and always had a burning ambition to travel. She has spent much time abroad in places such as Malaysia, Lebanon, Austria and Ethiopia but now lives with her husband, who is also an author, on the edge of Richmond Park.

Elizabeth says that she feels immensely privileged to be able to earn her living as a writer. She cherishes the freedom of working on her own thing in her own time. She also loves the unexpectedness of writing. She never knows where inspiration will strike next or where it will lead her.

She has written many stories for children, and had a great many of nominations for awards, including being shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal three times. She has also won the Children's Book Award and the Smarties Young Judges Award.

Product Description

About the Author

Elizabeth Laird has been nominated five times for the Carnegie Medal and has won many awards, including the Children's Book Award. She is the author of many highly acclaimed children’s books. She and her husband divide their time between London and Edinburgh.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sian Louise VINE VOICE on 18 May 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a great read. I really enjoyed this and in a way did not want it to end.
It wasn't just enjoyable for fiction, a lot of the stuff was actually historically accurate and I found it extremely interesting. I didnt want the book to end.

I loved the character of Maggie, she was very likeable and I warmed to her straight away and all of the secondary characters help round the story quite nicely.

It has actually made me want to read a few more about witchcraft way back when and the excuses people made for accusing someone of being a witch etc etc.

I am not sure if this is going to be part of a series or a one off, but I would definately read another one from this author.

The book is aimed at young adults but actually I think it would be quite interesting for older adults too, it has some adults themes such as hanging, burning at a stake, torture etc its not graphic with these things but they do occur in the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Free Spirit VINE VOICE on 6 May 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is based on the early life of Maggie at the time of the reign of the Stewart family. Life was hard for her, being orphaned and living with her Granny on a small Scottish Island. Her Granny wasn't well liked within the community for being one who spoke her mind and this lead to both Maggie and her Granny being tried for witchcraft. Her Granny was executed but Maggie made an escape off the island to head for her Uncles home...... The adventure does not end there but I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil the story for you.

This book is written for young adults but I thoroughly enjoyed it myself. It moved at a nice steady pace and I liked the fact that it described the times so well I felt that I could have been walking in Maggies shoes. It also made me grateful that I live in this century. It isn't about witches or witchcraft, more about the story of lives caught up in the hysteria of that period in time.

The book is started off with a little bit of background history about the politics of the time and I found this particularly useful.

A really good read, I couldn't put it down so I would recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angel Jem VINE VOICE on 6 July 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book, written by Elizabeth Laird, is based on real people from her ancestoral past; a sort of family history given extra dimension by fictionalising and extending the facts known. It's aimed at early to mid teens, probabl;y most likely girls or historian boys. The main protagonist is Maggie who lives with her grandmother Elspeth and who is a covenantor, in other words someone who refuses to recognise the supremacy of the King as head of the church. They were being persecuted at the time of Charles 2nd, and this novel is set then. The undercurrent of witchcraft comes in because her grandmother is a 'witch', a wise woman and healer, who is prepared to go to the stake to save her granddaughter when she is arrested rather than give her up. Maggie has a hard life, running scared from the English soldiers and having adventures, mishaps and problems on the way. It's a good strong, historical read; there is very little fantasy and the situations are all too believable at the time without being over-egged and dressed up as 'exciting'. The fate that awaits Maggie if she is caught is no fantasy, but a hot stake and damnation. It isn't light reading, but all the better for that, this is a good solid book written well by an experienced author who manages to keep the facts coming without preaching or fluffing, a very hard move in writing like this. I'm passing ths on to my 12 year old son, who will find the true story of witches very different from the cute Harry Potter style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jan on 8 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is another great story from a brilliant storyteller. At the start of this book Maggie Blair is living with her grandmother on the Isle of Bute in the firth of the Clyde. This is Scotland in the seventeenth century and life is very hard for Maggie and her grandmother, particularly when the people of Bute decide that they are both witches. They are convicted of practicing witchcraft and sentenced to be hanged. Maggie escapes, manages to flee to the main land and heads for the home of her uncle Blair, the brother of her long dead father, but unfortunately this is not the end of Maggie's troubles as her kind uncle is a Covenanter, who refuses to accept King Charles as head of the church. (The Covenanters believed that God was head of the church and could not be supplanted by any man, even if he was a Stuart king.) By the end of the story our brave Maggie has learnt to read and write, saved her cousin Andrew from a watery death, tricked and bribed the King's soldiers and rescued her uncle from captivity and sent him back to his family.

Good historical novels tell us a gripping story and also teach us about life in days gone by. I didn't know very much about King Charles and the Covenanters, but I know more now. The story of their cause is skilfully woven into the text and, although Maggie is not sure that she actually agrees with their beliefs, she is prepared to travel across Scotland on foot (this is way before cars, oyster cards and planes!) to help the family who have taken her in.

It is a joy to read an adventure story where the main character is a brave and resourceful girl. Maggie would not be waiting around for a vampire boyfriend to come and bite her neck, she is a girl who decides what she wants to do - and she does it. Maggie is a quite a girl!

This is a great read for young teenage readers. In fact all Elizabeth Laird's books are great reads and if this one grips you, try "The Garbage King" and "Crusade" which are both brilliant.
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