When her adored Pa dies, Maggie is only eight. It is quickly apparent that neither her mother nor her two older siblings are equipped in any way to deal with the hard life of the American West. But Maggie, even at this early age, has a talent; she can shoot with an uncanny accuracy. She also has an indomitable will. But will she survive in the face of opposition from her family and society?
This is not the story of Annie Oakley, but it is based on what is now known about Annie and her childhood. Maggie, however, is very much her own person and her voice is immediate and alive. Landman is no stranger to the American West and its history. Here she draws the reader into this challenging environment with confidence. The Barrington Stoke format avoids extended descriptive passages; this presents Landman with no problems. Her language is spare, concise and effective. There is no need for graphic details – the abuse experienced by Maggie is real but is handled with an economy that is all the more powerful, and this is very much the pattern; every word is made to work. Characters are lightly drawn, seen as they are through Maggie’s eyes. Some are unpleasant but are never cardboard, others are sympathetic – and the reader is delighted that for Maggie (as for Annie Oakley) there is a ‘happy ending’. Here is another beautifully crafted, satisfying read from one of our most accomplished writers for young people and produced in a format that ensures as wide a readership as possible.