When her father, Robert the Bruce, is crowned King of Scotland, Marjorie Bruce becomes a princess. But Edward Longshanks, the ruthless King of England, captures Marjorie and keeps her prisoner in a wooden cage in the centre of a town square, exposed to wind, rain, and the bullying taunts of the townspeople.
Marjorie knows that despite her suffering and pain, she must stay strong: the future of Scotland depends of her…
Genre: Middle Grade, YA, Fiction/Historical
Age appropriate: 13+
Number of Pages: 250 pages
Date of Publication: 20/06/2019
Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris are the authors of this book. Jane Yolen has written over 370 books aimed mostly to children and teenagers. She was the first woman ever to give the Andrew Lang lecture at the St Andrews University.
Robert J. Harris has written numerous books including ‘The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries’ a series featuring the youthful adventures of the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
The publisher of the book is Cranachan.
I have to start this review by saying that I got too involved reading this book and that I forgot to take any notes during it. I normally have a notebook next to me and this time I totally forgot about it.
This book is aimed at middle grade and YA readers but because of the way the book is written I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction of any age.
The story is told through the eyes of Marjorie Bruce, only daughter of the Scottish King Robert the Bruce. Marjorie is the main protagonist of this story which is split between two timelines which are when she was caged as a prisoner and what lead to her imprisonment.
The story starts when Marjorie is already caged (October 1306) by the order of King Edward I of England and displayed in the middle of the town of Lanercost for anyone to see and humiliate her. The King banned anyone, even the monks, to speak to her. We learn about the conditions of her imprisonment and how she is feeling and this is how the ‘future’ timeline begins. The second ‘past’ timeline starts when she is in the south of Scotland at Lochmaben Castle (February 1306) before Robert the Bruce was made King of Scotland.
There were times where I forgot that I was reading a fictional novel as it is a fascinating story with so many descriptions of the historical locations and an engaging dialogue between the characters. Every interaction between characters was soaked in emotion and was very intriguing. Marjorie’s character development through the story was very well written. Yolen and Harris did a great job bringing a chapter of Scottish History to life.
At the very end of the book there is a prologue in which the authors stated what was true about the story and what was poetic licence which I really liked as we don’t find this in many books based on real events. Middle grade students would benefit from this story as it is a great way of getting familiar with a chapter from Scottish History.
I enjoyed this book so much that I literally didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t understand why I haven’t read it before due to my interest in Scottish history. I do feel however that although this could be a great book for middle grade students, due to how the book is written with switching between the two story timelines that some children might struggle to follow what was happening. Also this book can be a bit sad in places.
Availability: You can be able to find the book at Cranachan here and in all good bookshops.