The fifth book I have read by Robert Ballentyne, Hunted and Harried is a story of the Scottish Covenenters.
The tale follows young Will Wallace, who throws in his lot with the hunted Covenenters, initially because he has little other choice, but later because he embraces their beliefs. Will and his Covenenter friends face the persecution of the "killing times" with loyality and bravery; friendship and love (romance doesn't exactly fit) grow and is strengthened even through the terror and misery around them.
Ballentyne does not go into overly gory details about the torture involved, but he speaks plainly and openly of the brave Convenenter martyrs and what they underwent--men, women, and in some cases children. As with his other books (drawing from the limited number I have read), Ballentyne weaves occasionally lengthly expositions of the history of the era into his tale and does more than just tell the reader what happened. He challenges the reader to learn, understand, and implement that learning. (He differs from Henty in this aspect. Henty's history is worked in a little more sublty--less like he is actually sitting there, eye to eye, talking with you.)
I highly recommend Ballentyne's works for both boys and girls (though they are really addressed more to the young men). He holds up high standards for his reader and is really quite engaging. For a younger reader, they might be a little hard because Ballentyne writes like a man from his era. The Victorian writers used more language, a wider vocabularly, than your average person is used to.
I would definitely recommend this book as a starting place for someone's study of the Scottish Covenenters. I learned several things from this book that I previously did not know (not that I have extensively studied the Convenenters). The only warning I might give does concern the description of torture. Like I said above, it is not overly gory but it is there. (How can one discuss torture without describing it to some extent?)
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol'
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