Girl in a Cage by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris
This historical fiction is based on real events in England and Scotland in the late 1200s and early 1300s. King Edward I of England is determined to rule Scotland despite Robert Bruce’s battle to be King of Scotland and establish Scotland as an independent country. After the English forces win a battle against Robert Bruce’s forces in Scotland in September, 1306, King Edward takes Robert’s eleven year old daughter Marjorie prisoner. Edward plans to keep Marjorie exhibited in a cage at the Tower of London in England, but instead cages her at a village on the border between the two countries. Given only subsistence food, in a cage totally open to the elements, Marjorie continues to resist Edward’s demands that she surrender. Even though she is a child, she has faith that her father will eventually beat the English, be king and free Scotland from English rule. Although the townspeople initially hate her, throw rotten vegetables at her and shout insults, eventually they come to admire her courage.
Told through Marjorie’s narration, the story moves between her life with her family before the open war between Scotland and England, and Marjorie’s circumstances as a prisoner. I knew nothing about this history and read the book in just a few days because I was so eager to know what happened. I was completely drawn in, and hope to do more research into this era of British history.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson