“MAGGIE ELIZABETH HARRINGTON,”
BY DJ SWYKERT
PUBLISHER: CAMBRIDGE BOOKS; MARCH 19, 2016
Synopsis: Maggie Elizabeth Harrington is the story of a young woman in the 1890s, whose world is a remote northern Michigan mining town, where she tries to save a pack of young wolves from a bounty hunter. A terse historical love story of a young woman’s struggle with environmental and moral issues concerning the slaughter of wolves, and the church’s condemnation of her love for a young man are as real in today’s global world as they were for young Maggie more than a century ago.
“Maggie Elizabeth Harrington” is an incredible novel about a 13-year-old girl growing up in a mining town in the 1890’s and about her relationships with family, friends, a young man, and a pack of wolves. DJ Swykert has created such a uniquely beautiful, yet heartbreaking story about Maggie that awakens a variety of emotions within you as you are reading. Maggie’s mother died during her birth and she has grown up living with her father and her grandmother. Maggie’s father is a miner and a hard worker but has never been affectionate, or even talkative with Maggie. Maggie’s grandmother is somewhat softer, but also quiet and reserved like Maggie’s father. Maggie is best friends with Annie loves Annie’s older brother, Tommie, both of whom come from an upper-class family in town. When some locals decide to hunt and kill a wolf in the area for bounty, Maggie enlists Tommie and Annie’s help in locating her pups and protecting them. This is when Maggie’s “other-world” begins, where she splits her time between family and chores with sneaking out to feed and care for the wolf pups. As they care for the pups, Tommie and Maggie become closer, and venture into the experiences of first love, despite his families objections. Maggie has a secret boyfriend and a secret wolf pack, but eventually the wolves are discovered, so Tommie and Maggie run away with the wolves to protect them until they can be set free.
Something I love about Maggie is her inquisitiveness. Her inner monologue doesn’t just accept things as she should, whether it is actions or words from her father, the minister, or others in the community. Rather than accept things at face value, Maggie is very introspective and considers the reasons and meanings behind what others say and do. Her character is also very honest and believable from the point of view of a 13-year-old girl. When thinking about various people, she will consider things they have said or done and then decide to herself, “I do not think that I like him very much,” and then move on with her thoughts. Swykert’s characters are almost all very developed and complex, contributing to who Maggie is and the choices that she makes. During the novel, Maggie’s bravery, love for the wolf pups, and love for Tommie all change who she is and who she wants to be in her life. This was an outstanding coming of age story about a girl who sets her mind to protect something that she loves, and commits to it the best she can. Although I was in tears towards the end of the novel, I still loved it and cannot wait for this story to continue.
Learn more about DJ Swykert by visiting his web page.
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.