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North Side of the Tree by Maggie Prince

North Side of the Tree (2003)

by Maggie Prince

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North Side of the Tree, the sequel to Raider's Tide, is a historical YA novel set in the 1500s, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Beatrice lives at Barrowbeck Tower near the Scotland border, in a community which is constantly on the look-out for Scottish raiders. But she no longer sees all Scots as her enemy, after having rescued, nursed and befriended a wounded Scottish raider. He has returned to his home, but Beatrice could still be burnt at the stake if her treasonous actions were discovered. She decides maybe it is time to redeem herself by marrying her cousin in compliance with her family's wishes.
But life is not so tidy. Her unconventional family's secrets begin to become public knowledge, and Beatrice is confronted by her feelings for her former teacher, the parson. Then she discovers that her Scottish raider is again on the wrong side of the border. Unwilling for her previous efforts to save him to be in vain, Beatrice is determined to rescue him again - but this time, by doing so, she is risking more than just her own life.

Like Raider's Tide, North Side of the Tree is gripping and suspenseful, about a determined young woman who is prepared to challenge convention. Beatrice is a sympathetic narrator and her story is a vivid, engaging portrayal of life for a border community in the 16th century. But for me, North Side of the Tree always feels more convoluted. Beatrice's life has changed, and things are no longer as straightforward as they were. Instead of deciding where her loyalties lie and what she wants, Beatrice is torn between conflicting loyalties and desires. Even though she is still only 16, she is now in an adult world and her choices have potentially far-reaching consequences. It is also more of a love-story than Raider's Tide, and like everything else, Beatrice's romance is not straightforward. But this allows the relationship to feel both convincing and mature - and I like how aspects of it are written between the lines.
I find it hard to say exactly what it is that I find so appealing about North Side of the Tree... I love all details which bring the 16th century to life, I am interested by its depiction of a bygone era, and I am captivated by Beatrice and her story.

I first picked up North Side of the Tree unaware that it was a sequel. This didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the story - or ruin Raider's Tide for me - but there is certainly sense in reading them in their intended order. So I recommend them both. ( )
  Herenya | Jun 28, 2010 |
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For Chris, always
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I walk the Old Corpse Road again.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007130856, Paperback)

Sequel to Raider's Tide. The continuation of Beatrice and Robert's story, historical drama set in 16th Century border country. In Raider's Tide, Beatrice, a sixteen-year-old English girl, saves Robert a Scot from death. She has risked her own life, by helping the enemy but in turn is rescued by John, the local pastor. After nearly drowning, and with Robert gone, Beatrice finds it difficult to settle back into everyday life. She starts to learn healing with the Cockleshell Man but is too distraught to concentrate well. A quarrel with her father results in her leaving home to stay at the Parsonage out father's way. There, her relationship with John deepens and they become betrothed. Meanwhile several captured Scots are imprisoned in the infamous dungeons of Lancaster Castle. Robert is among them - he did not make it across the brder. The prisoners are almost certain to be hanged after their trials at the Lent Assizes. Beatrice makes repeated attempts to free him, but nothing works and Robert is condemned to die. In desperation Beatrice plots with some travelling players to rescue Robert and in doing so, she jeapordises her relationship with John and narrowly escapes being thrown into jail herself. In saving Robert, Beatrice has become a fugitive from the law herself...and Scotland is the only place she can go.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

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