Welcome to this week’s Lyssa’s Latest Reads! This is a new blog thing I’m doing for the next month (hopefully longer), where I share with you what I’ve been reading lately! I’ll post a new book every Friday, except this week it’s Saturday since I was out of town. XD This week, I’ve been reading Quest For a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry.
This was one of my favorite books in sixth grade or so, but it had been maaaaany years since I read it last. But I’ve been on a historical fiction kick recently, so I decided to revisit it! This is a YA historical set in 13th-century Scotland, following the events of the death of King Alexander III (which eventually led to the events of the movie Braveheart, if that helps you figure out the time period better). I can already hear you saying, “Why is this interesting?” But it is so interesting. It follows the life of a fictional girl named Meg who inadvertently gets embroiled in the political intrigue of the line of succession, and on top of the fact that I love the characters, I also love the way it addresses topics like the interplay of medieval religion and witchcraft, and the roles of women and how they managed to negotiate power for themselves.
No, really, I promise, it is extremely interesting!
It’s so remarkably well-researched and feels incredibly grounded in its time period, but it’s also hugely accessible to just everyday readers (I mean, like I said, it was my favorite book when I was in sixth grade and knew literally nothing about Scotland, European history, or the face that this young Robert de Brus that keeps getting mentioned was Robert the Bruce). And it’s also fun if you do know stuff about the time period (I was a history major in college and split my studies pretty evenly between ancient Egypt and medieval Britain—I know, one of these things is not like the other) because it gives you that up-close, personal touch to big historical events that you can only get with fiction.
Anyway, I really highly recommend this book. Even if you think this subject isn’t your cup of tea, you may be surprised!