#BookReview
Maggie Elizabeth Harrington – D.J. Swykert

Maggie Elizabeth is a 13-year-old girl living in a Mining Town in rural Michigan in the 1890s and she will do anything to save a pack of wolf cubs

— Introduction —

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington #1: I Live in Two Worlds

Maggie Elizabeth is a 13-year-old who had to grow up too fast because her mother died after giving birth to her. She lives with her grandmother and father, who works as a miner at Mr Stetter’s mine. The Stetter family consists of the parents and two children, Tommie and Annie. Annie is Maggie’s best friend and they share everything. When bounty hunters shoot a wolf, Maggie desperately needs to find the pack in order to save the little ones and Tommie has to help her. Little does she know the dangers they will encounter nor the life-changing decisions they will have to make …

— Storyline — 

Maggie’s father only speaks when necessary. Maggie wonders if he considers she caused her mother’s death and therefore hates her. She, on the other hand, hates it when her father drowns the cat’s kittens every summer. Maggie has lots of daily chores and her only outlet is being with Annie. Maggie thinks of herself as emotion-driven and she feels Annie is the practical one. There is more: Maggie is in love with Anne’s brother Tommie and she is positive one day they will marry. In sharing her thoughts with us, the readers, Maggie gives us an insight into the harsh reality of living in a miner’s town in the late 19th century. She shows us the world of the miners, of the Reverend White who speaks of one thing and does the other, of class distinctions between families of the mine owner, the Stetters, and the miners. Most of all, Maggie has a deep love for everything living – no wonder that, when a bounty hunter wants to not only kill the adult wolf but also her cubs, Maggie feels she needs to protect the cubs until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

— My Thoughts —

This 13-year-old girl speaks to us in this first-person narrative. She is lonely, rebellious and has been forced to grow up too soon. Only free in her thoughts, she has so many questions that remain unanswered, and there is in her a craving for love, be it from loving parents or cuddly animals. The author has given us a unique perspective and in doing so, chosen a narrative formula that is repetitive and, even if it gives us insight into Maggie’s life, still feels a bit too mature for a teenager. The author has shown us Maggie’s all-consuming love for Tommie that is so very innocent at heart. I found it difficult to empathise with Maggie’s constant reasoning but at the same time felt sorry for the lonely girl in that harsh world. Despite the repetitiveness causing the reading experience to be difficult sometimes instead of fluent, if anything, the book gives insight into the day-to-day life of the mining community in rural Michigan around the end of the 19th century and the narrow-mindedness of the people living there which makes this young adult novel an interesting read.

The second Maggie Elizabeth Harrington novel is Alpha Wolves (Nov 2016).

— About the Author —

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator and a wolf expert, writing fiction in the Cincinnati area. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, Justice in the Street, Sweat Street and The Death of Anyone.  

The mining information in the Maggie Elizabeth Harrington Series is based on stories, told by the author’s grandfather who worked in iron and copper mines in northern Michigan. The wolves are DJ Swykert’s passion and personal experience: he ‘inherited’ a pair of arctic hybrid wolf cubs and ended up raising them.                                                                                                        Maggie Elizabeth Harrington - DJ Swykert - Wolf photo

— Book Info —

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 Paperback   270 pages
 Publisher   CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (23 Jun. 2013)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  1490515674
 ISBN-13  978-1490515670

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Maggie Elizabeth Harrington – D.J. Swykert”

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