Title: Fir For Luck
Author: Barbara Henderson
Published: September 21st 2016
Publisher: Cranachan Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Length: 200 pages
Source: Paperback from the Publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Would you be brave enough to fight back?
When 12-year-old Janet’s village is under threat– she decides to take action.
It’s a split-second decision that could cost her everything: her home, her family – even her life.
Can Janet save her village from being wiped out? Or will her family and friends be forced from their homes to face an uncertain future?
Based on real life events, Fir for Luck is a tale of the brutal Highland Clearances, when land owners cared more about sheep than people.
Cranachan Publishing has given us some really great books this year so far and I was super excited to read their latest offering, Fir For Luck. Being Scottish myself, it’s great to read fiction that is set in my country and has my local dialect scattered through the pages. I have yet to be disappointed by one of their publications.
Based on true events from the Scottish Highland clearances, Henderson has weaved together a tale of bravery and hope through what was one of the darker moments in Scotland’s history. Janet has lived in the quiet village her entire life and when the people are told to move, she decides enough is enough and fights back. With an unfaltering courage, she leads her village into battle against the men trying to evict them. With everything on the line, Janet fights for their village, her family, and their right to stay.
As well as being a brutal insight into a dark history, Fir For Luck is a beautiful story of one girl’s fight to keep her family, her village, and the life she has always known together. Despite feeling useless at times, Janet never gives up and continues to argue against the injustice that has befallen them.
What starts as a beautiful story about a young girl trying to prove she’s just as good as the boys in the village, turns into a battle of wills with Janet showing just how clever and determined she really is. It was a fascinating insight into how things were all those years ago and a wonderfully evocative history lesson.
With the people of the village banding together, it’s a wonderful insight into how people from all backgrounds and classes will work together to fight off something that is wrong. Even in troubling times, the rich work with the poor and become the strong village they always were.
I love the relationships between Janet and her family, how they changed as the story progressed. I also loved the relationships between the villagers and how they all rallied together, despite what happened.
It’s such a captivating read that I couldn’t put it down and finished in two sittings, reading well into the night. With a cast of characters with personalities so real you immediately want things to go well for them, the fate of the village makes your heart pump and your pulse race as you follow Janet in her wilful rebellion to save her home.
It’s a beautifully told story that will take you back in time. An excellent work of reality based fiction that I think everyone should read.
About the Author
Barbara Henderson has lived in Scotland since 1991, somehow acquiring an MA in English Language and Literature, a husband, three children and a shaggy dog along the way. Having tried her hand at working as a puppeteer, relief librarian and receptionist, she now teaches Drama part-time at secondary school.
Writing predominantly for children, Barbara won the Nairn Festival Short Story Competition in 2012, theCreative Scotland Easter Monologue Competition in 2013 and was one of three writers shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize 2013. In 2015, wins include the US-based Pockets Magazine Fiction Contest and the Ballantrae Smuggler’s Story Competition. She blogs regularly at write4bairns.wordpress.com where full details of her writing achievements can also be found.
Barbara is currently based in Inverness.