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*****= An all-time favorite
*****Quest for a Maid
by Frances Mary Hendry
Reviewed May 25, 2003.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1990. 273 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF HEN).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003: #1, Young Adult Historical Fiction Rereads
I shouldn’t have picked up Quest for a Maid this morning. I had lovely plans for the morning with my kids and husband out of the house and lots of important and profitable things to do. Instead, I forgot all of that as I fell under the spell of this book. If I remember correctly, the same thing happened the first time I read it.
It draws you in from the first line: “When I was nine years old, I hid under a table and heard my sister kill a king.”
We’re planning to vacation in Scotland this summer, so I’ve been reading up a little on Scottish history. History tells us that King Alexander of Scotland died when his horse fell from a cliff, with his only heir the young Maid of Norway, Princess Margaret, who was still too young to rule. In Quest for a Maid, Meg’s beloved older sister, Inge, uses witchcraft to bring about King Alexander’s death.
No characters are simple in this book. Inge has done this evil thing and craves power, but Meg loves her. Inge is kind and loving toward her. After the king’s death, Meg’s compassion for others wins her a betrothal into a fine family and a devoted servant. Six years later, she becomes part of the voyage that sets out from Scotland to bring the Maid of Norway back to Scotland. She doesn’t realize that powerful people are plotting against her.
Frances Mary Hendry captures the delight of Meg’s growing-up years as she spends wondrous summers learning to sail. She shows Meg’s impulsive compassion that sometimes helps and sometimes causes trouble. And she embroils us in the plots of the powerful as we wonder what will happen to Margaret of Norway and Meg Wright of Scotland, who tried to help her. This book has cast a spell over me both times I read it.
Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund. All