Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review: Maggie Elizabeth Harrington by D.J. Swykert

Title:  Maggie Elizabeth Harrington (I Live in Two Worlds)
Author:  D.J. Swykert
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Publisher: Magic Masterminds, LLC
Release Date:  November 2, 2016

Central Mine is now a ghost town on the remote Keweenaw Peninsula in western upper Michigan, but when Maggie Harrington and Tommie Stetter roamed its nameless streets it was a thriving Cornish mining community with the Central Mine Methodist Church at the center of its social fabric. Young Maggie is a free spirited young woman whose idealism often brings her into conflict with the strict teachings of Reverend White and her stern father as she looks for answers to feeling unwanted and unloved. This historical story of a young woman's struggle with environmental and moral issues concerning the slaughter of wolves, and the churches condemnation of her love for a young man, are as real in today's global world as they were for young Maggie over a century ago.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

My Review:

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington is a thirteen year old girl living in a mining town in Upper Michigan with her father and grandmother.  I'm guessing the setting is in the late 1800's, but I'm not totally sure of that.  The story is written in first person, mostly reading the thoughts of Maggie as she observes life around her.  The story starts out with her knowing that her father is going to drown her new kittens.  Her cat is allowed to live because she keeps the mouse population down, but they cannot afford to feed her annual litter of kittens.  So every year Maggie's father pulls out a steel tub, fills it with water and drowns the little kittens.  Although she can do nothing to stop the killing of these kittens, later in the book as she sees a she-wolf being killed for the bounty and a hunt ensue for the litter of wolf pups, also to be killed, Maggie decides to find these wolf pups first in order to protect them.  Tommie Stetter helps her and as they run away to save the wolf pups, a budding romance develops.

This is a coming of age novel.  It is a sweet... and sometimes bitter sweet tale of young love, forbidden love and dealing with life and death.  I can understand why this book received several 5-star reviews, but I had a difficult time dealing with the lack of editing and with the repetitiveness.  Hearing every thought a thirteen year old girl has, over and over again, dragged the book down a bit and it took me longer to read it than usual and I found myself skimming some of the pages due to the repetitive nature.

I do think the author is talented and I loved the historical aspect of this book.  My own father was from Upper Michigan and I found the references to certain customs of the area to be right on target (and made me smile).

Overall, I'll give this a 3.5/5 but I'll round it up to 4 due to the unique way it was written.  Would love to see a good editor go through this book to fix the numerous mistakes.

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by the author with the sole purpose of an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator writing fiction. 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. You can find him at: 


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