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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Adventure, 6 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Hanging of Margaret Dickson (Kindle Edition)
I approached this story thinking I knew the rough background to the legend of Half Hangit Maggie, but Alison Butler has done a simply wonderful job of adding flesh, blood and bones to the story. Her writing breathes life into a fantastic array of characters who bring real colour and drama to the book, and it is easy to lose yourself in the rich reek of the harbour at Musselburgh as fishwives clean their catch amid the jumble of creels and nets, or the heady stink of Edinburgh where thousands live cheek by jowl in a city with little or no sanitation.
I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into the story by the skilful use of fact and fiction to create a satisfying whole. Butler's research and deep love of the story shines through and adds real depth to the book along with a plethora of details which just adds to the overall picture. Wonder no more why women go out on Hen Nights before their weddings! Or why sailors don't wish to be between the Devil and the deep blue sea!
From Maggie's childhood, teenage years and her marriage, at the age of 17 which brings more disappointment than pleasure for the headstrong Maggie we follow her life through it's ups and downs. It is her undoubted desire to enjoy the finer things in life which leads her into flirtations with prostitution but through it all she always finds herself going back to her husband. It is to Butler's credit that she still manages to have you rooting for Maggie despite her wilful and wild ways that could so easily have made her a deeply unlikeable character.
Even though the book is moving towards the inevitable date with the gallows of the Grassmarket you find yourself hoping that somehow Maggie will mend her ways. Unfortunately, history cannot be changed and the descriptions of the Tolbooths in Kelso and Edinburgh will leave you scratching yourself at the image of bodies crawling with filth and lice and chained in unlit, stinking cells.
18th Century Scotland lives and breathes through the pages of this book. From the stink of the midden to the tantalising aroma of French perfume this a book which fills your senses, and like a rich broth leaves you satisfied.
Bravo to Alison Butler for a job well done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Hanging of Margaret Dickson (Kindle Edition)
An insight into the life of a strong willed young woman, living in the dark day's of the 1700's in Scotland. Obviously many hours were spent in research, resulting in this gritty story which transports you back in time. definitely looking forward to the next offering from this interesting author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book, 30 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Hanging of Margaret Dickson (Kindle Edition)
this book is a fantastic historical novel about maggie dickson, a rough fishwife, who has a strong personality, loose morals, sleeps with men when the hubby away.
husband gets rid of her and she moves to newcastle to work in an inn. a baby is found dead, fingers point to maggie, did she do it, i wont say.
what i will say is i rushed through housework to pick up my kindle. i was in heaven reading it. am surprised it is alison butlers first book, as i found it so well done. theres a bit of history, dont let it put you off. it adds to the story. it is sad in places, the prisons horrific, and well described. a lot of research has gone into this book. i was sorry it ended, its a great book to curl up with on a night, as it is easy to read. if you like family drama, suspense books, sitting holding your breath books, then this is the one for you. i LOVED it.
i have just downloaded 'ellies emails' by alison, a short story different genre, will read soon and review. well done ALISON BUTLER. xx
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Maggie, 9 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Hanging of Margaret Dickson (Kindle Edition)
Such a haunting story of a strong willed, independent woman. This wonderfully written tale from author Alison J. Butler has given a life to Maggie that we've never known. It is a must read for all women and mothers alike. You really feel as though you are back in time, when life was miserably hard, especially for a woman. Maggie lives again in this remarkable novel. I look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JUST BRILLIANT!, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: The Hanging of Margaret Dickson (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed this book more than any other I've read - it was magnificent! The history I also learnt was so interesting I just loved it. well done Alison Butler. I can't wait for another book from you x
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Tale of a True Survivor!, 11 May 2014
In her breakout novel, "The Hanging of Margaret Dickson", Alison Butler has given historical
fiction lovers a female character to rival Scarlett O'Hara! "Maggie Dickson" is beautiful, self-absorbed,
wanton, rebellious and determined to get what she wants no matter the cost. She is willing to flaunt
society's mores and pays the ultimate price, culminating in a conviction of infanticide. Ms. Butler does an
excellent job of transporting the reader back to the harsh reality of everyday life for an 18th Century Scottish
fishwife. The reader will have to decide whether Maggie was guilty of infanticide or wrongly convicted. I await
with great anticipation the transition of the book to the big screen and Ms. Butler's next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 6 April 2014
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As an Edinburgh lad, I was aware of the story of Half-Hangit Maggie, but had never given it much thought. Alison J Butler has clearly meticulously researched the history around this woman's life and then woven a rich narrative between the known facts. It would have been easy to portray the central character of Maggie as an innocent victim of less enlightened times or as a selfish, cold-hearted woman who got what was coming to her, but the author makes her a human being, and as such she is capable of the frailties and nobilities which being human confers upon all of us. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new Catherine Cookson ?., 10 Mar 2014
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A well researched novel based on a historical event in 18th century Scotland. You could almost imagine it was a collaboration written by authors Catherine Cookson and Daniel Defoe (Moll Flanders). This might be her first novel but I'm sure we will be hearing a lot more about Alison J. Butler. Looking forward to her next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story woven around real events., 2 Feb 2014
Well written historical fiction based on true events. Descriptive and colourful writing with an authentic regional feel, really captured the conditions and lifestyle of the era. Pulled no punches in retelling the story of Half Hangit Maggie; I came to dislike her but her circumstances were so grim her behaviour at times could be understood. I look forward to other works from this author, or indeed, a televised version of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brill, 17 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Hanging of Margaret Dickson (Kindle Edition)
really enjoyed this book very gritty well researched and awful to think our ancestors really had to live like this looking forward to more from Alison
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