Elizabeth Laird often writes about subjects in which I am not at all interested. But that never discourages me from reading her books. They are always meticulously researched, beautifully written, fascinating stories.
My personal favourite is probably still The Garbage King. It’s one of many books by Elizabeth to have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, having been shortlisted a few years ago. Set in Ethiopia, it tells the story of two boys from very different backgrounds who find themselves living on the streets. It’s powerful and moving and heart-breaking and life-enhancing – and it stayed with me long after I’d finished reading. Its major strength is that it doesn’t have an unrealistically happy-ever-after ending.
Just about to be published is The Witching Hour. By rights, I shouldn’t be at all interested in its subject matter, either. It’s set in seventeenth century lowland Scotland and, as I often tell people, I’m not interested in history until at least the eighteenth century. However, I found The Witching Hour immediately engrossing. The blurb on the back cover would lead you to think that it’s about witchcraft but, as far as I can see, it’s really about the Covenanters. Perhaps it’s about being an individual and true to oneself.
Elizabeth Laird has dug into her own family history to research the book. Perhaps that’s why the characters are so engaging. I had intended to read the book over the Easter weekend but ended up reading it in the space of a few hours on Good Friday. It really was a book I couldn’t put down and I suggest that you find a copy as soon as it’s published.