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Quest for a Maid by Frances May Hendry

Quest for a Maid (original 1990; edition 1992)

by Frances May Hendry

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357730,515 (4.22)1 / 13
Title:Quest for a Maid
Authors:Frances May Hendry
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (1992), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Reviewed, Amazon
Tags:genre: fantasy, age: young adult, genre: historical fantasy, read 2006, read 2007, strong women

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Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry (1990)



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Someone at my book club was staggered that I hadn't read this growing up, so I tracked down a copy from the library - and it was fantastic. I should have read this right between The Boggart by Susan Cooper and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. It's got a little bit of magic and a lot of adventure, with a gutsy young heroine and her loyal friends: Peem Jackson, a cottar's boy whose life she saved (and who, in turn, saved her life several times over), and Davie Spens, a clever young boy with a harelip that prevents others from understanding them. Meg can understand him, though, and they wind up betrothed at a young age. Meg's oldest sister Inge was a particularly interesting character, possibly the most complex of any of the others. I'd read a whole other book from her point of view.

The author does a wonderful job making the historical aspects seem natural (they seem natural to the characters, even if they would be unusual now), and incorporating the Scots dialect (there's a glossary in the back). The author's note in front distinguishes the real from the made-up.


"When I see something in the air, is it something that must be, or something that only may be? When I use my power, am I using it truly, or maybe being used by it? Can I do anything that's not written for me? I sometimes think I can't." (Inge to Meg, 62)

"We may hurt worst the thing we love best, my pet." (Inge to Meg, 63)
  JennyArch | Nov 17, 2014 |
Read during Summer 2003

A well-written and very enjoyable children's story about a bit of Scottish history I knew nothing about. King Alexander dies suddenly in an accident and a struggle for power ensues among various royal family members. The King of England deciedes to solve it by bringing the very young Princess Margaret of Norway to wed his son and rule the country. The heroine is Meg, daughter of a Norse shipbuilder. Her oldest sister, Inge, becomes involved in the struggles for power via her witchcraft and Meg via her bethrothal to a merchant's son. The merchant is called to transport the Maid of Norway to her new home but Inge plots her death instead. I think Brittish kids would get more from it and I would have liked a map of Scotland in front of me but very enjoyable.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
This wee bittie book is a powerful re-imagining of a couple of different historical events which dovetail nicely here. I saw some of it coming, but not all by any means. The characters are finely drawn, especially Meg and Davie and Peem. Sir Patrick Spens is a hoot. The plot moves along at a brisk clip, and keeps one engaged throughout.

It did start off a bit slow, with a good deal of telling in the 'As you already know, Bob' vein, but once through that, it soared. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
This was one of my favorite books as a child. The characters are rich and appealing to a child and the story-telling is addictive. The ending, however, I remember being weak. I recently re-read this book and found my adult self agreeing with my child self. Much to be desired of the conclusion. ( )
  aiuliano | Mar 10, 2010 |
This is a historical fantasy, about the kings of the British Isles and what might have happened if magic existed. And it's a good story, about a young girl with more compassion and strength than she realizes - she runs around willy-nilly saving lives and befriending outcasts, not even realizing that she's doing unusual things. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Feb 9, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frances Mary Hendryprimary authorall editionscalculated
McGowan, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374461554, Paperback)

Meg Wright is nine when she hides under a table and hears her sister Inge kill the King of Scotland by witchcraft, setting in motion a treacherous power struggle.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Aware of her older sister's powers of sorcery, which have been used to help secure the Scottish throne for Robert de Brus, Meg realizes she must try to protect the young Norwegian princess who has been chosen as rightful heir.

(summary from another edition)

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