Beautifully written, very simple and spare.
Fir for Luck, Barbara Henderson’s first full-length novel, was published yesterday.
Description from Goodreads:
Would you be brave enough to fight back?
When 12-year-old Janet’s village is under threat– she decides to take action.
It’s a split-second decision that could cost her everything: her home, her family – even her life.
Can Janet save her village from being wiped out? Or will her family and friends be forced from their homes to face an uncertain future?
Based on real life events, Fir for Luck is a tale of the brutal Highland Clearances, when land owners cared more about sheep than people.
Review by Gill-Marie Stewart:
This is a lovely book, beautifully written, very simple and spare in its story-telling. It is set in 1841, with flashbacks to 1814, spanning the most troubled time of the now infamous Highland Clearances.
At the younger end of YA, it tells the story of Janet, 12-turning-13 but due soon to leave school and go out to work. She thinks her worst trouble is not being allowed to go and cut thatch with the boys and men. Instead, her world is torn apart when a ? arrives to serve a writ on the tiny village of Ceannabeinn, instructing all inhabitants to leave within 48 hours. Janet leads the women and children in their refusal to take the writ, and so starts the process of the villagers fighting against their ‘master’, the law and the press. The tension mounts slowly but inexorably in this deftly told portrayal of real historical events.
Many people will think they already know the story of the Clearances, but this is a fresh insight into it, told from the perspective of a young girl, in language that will be accessible to young and old. The quote from Elizabeth Wein on the cover says it all ‘brave and beautiful’. It is indeed.
I also have to say I really love the cover, with the red-headed, freckled girl’s face so large, and the fire reflecting in her eye. One of the best covers I’ve seen in a long time. Brilliant.
Gill-Marie writes YA mystery/romances as Gill-Marie Stewart. As Gilly Stewart she also writes women’s contemporary fiction. The first book in her YA series about George and Finn is Music and Lies (try out the first chapter here).
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