Review & Author Blog: The Siege of Caerlaverock / Barbara Henderson

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

This week marks the publication of The Siege of Caerlaverock by Barbara Henderson (available here) and today is our stop on the blog tour. Read on for a review of The Siege of Caerlaverock and then head over to author Barbara's guest booklist featuring her 5 favourite children's books set in the Middle Ages.

Book Title: The Siege of Caerlaverock (available here)

Author: Barbara Henderson

Publisher: Cranachan Books

Publication Date: August 2020

Reviewer: Carol Carter

Most Suitable For: Years 5-6


In a draughty castle in Scotland in the year 1300 , a young laundress called Ada creeps into the tower to clandestinely deliver bread to the captured English noble Colban Graham. Unfortunately, Ada thinks she’s been spotted helping the prisoner by cruel Castle Commander, Brian de Berclay, and he will want her head to roll. Soon, however, this becomes subsumed into a larger problem – Scotland is at war with England, Lord Maxwell is away with most of the fighting men, Caerlaverock is the first castle over the border and King Edward is on his way to lay siege with an army of 3,000…

At only 159 pages, and mainly set over the course of one day, this is a story that zips along like one of the arrows fired over the castle ramparts. Written in the first-person, we see from the inside how Ada copes as she tries to balance the many competing demands on her time and thoughts – can she help the prisoner, keep her new friend Page Godfrey safe, find out what de Berclay is up to and finish all her chores, all while an army storms the castle walls? With all that plot going on, it is a wonder that Barbara Henderson finds space to bring the harshness of the Middle Ages so vividly to life, with all the damp and cold and stink that entails, as well as several well-realised characters – I particularly enjoyed Brian de Berclay’s sneering Sheriff of Nottingham vibe.

Fans of historical adventure fiction will love this book. There is much to learn about the time period (aided by the comprehensive glossary and timeline provided at the end) but the learning is done lightly, wrapped up in a page-turning mixture of action, intrigue, betrayal and friendship. An excellent introduction breathing life to a period many children may know little about.

You can order The Siege of Caerlaverock online or from your local bookshop.

Guest Post

Click here to read author Barbara Henderson's guest booklist featuring 5 children's stories set in the Middle Ages.


You can order The Siege of Caerlaverock online or from your local bookshop.

Many thanks to the publishers at Cranachan for sending us a review copy and to Barbara for providing the guest post. Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.


Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.


What's new on BooksForTopics?

Join our newsletter to find out about our brand new booklists, reviews and updates on new children's books.

Click here to sign up.

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, BooksForTopics earns from qualifying purchases.  Click here to learn more. 

Copyright ©BooksForTopics  2015-2021. 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Pinterest