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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first in the "My Edinburgh Files" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth (Libby) Carlsen is packing to move to the mission field of Ecuador with her parents. Her 17-year-old sister, Mags, and brother, Tom, are not going with them. Then she gets an unwanted surprise: They're sending her to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, with Gran and Aunt Susannah, instead.

Mags flies to Scotland with her and intends to remain there for a few weeks, until Libby settles in. Then she will fly back to California to live with friends and go to school. The girls help Gran and Aunt Susannah at their bed and breakfast (B&B), serving food and making up rooms with Gran's employee, Alejandra. From the start, Libby can tell that MacLeod's Bakery near the B&B is having trouble. Mr. MacLeod's delivery van repeatedly breaks down, and his pastries taste all wrong or don't rise. Then a trash fire breaks out at the bakery late one night.

Libby learns an important festival is approaching, one that could make or break Mr. MacLeod's business. His sons, Malcolm (about Libby's age) and Jamie (close to Mags' age), wonder if someone is trying to sabotage the bakery.

Libby becomes friends with a future schoolmate, Philippa (Phil) Armstrong. Phil is spirited and prone to making unwise and disobedient choices. She pulls Libby along with her. Libby and Phil monitor the bakery through Libby's telescope and begin formulating theories about a saboteur. They witness several strange things late at night, follow suspects and find themselves answering to the police more than once.

After the MacLeods' van tires are slashed and the police are called yet again, Malcolm and Mags join the girls' investigation. They begin to suspect Nunzio, a friend of MacLeod's who owns a bakery of his own. Then they learn Nunzio is planning to sell his business to MacLeod. They discover one of MacLeod's former employees, Rory, wants to buy Nunzio's bakery, and Alejandra from the B&B is his accomplice. Rory thinks they'll only have the opportunity to purchase the shop if MacLeod's business isn't doing well enough to expand. Rory and Alejandra break into the bakery and are caught by MacLeod, Nunzio and the kids. The police are called to take away the saboteurs.

Libby begins to enjoy her life in Scotland. She makes some new friends, realizing that spending all her time with Phil isn't a good idea. Mags, who had been ignoring Libby to impress her new Scottish friends, seems remorseful and notes that Libby is growing up.

Christian Beliefs

Libby is disappointed that God didn't say no to her parents when they prayed about the missions field. She starts to mention some of her faith-based beliefs to Phil. She [Phil] is convinced that God either doesn't exist or is on vacation. Libby wants to defend her faith, but she doesn't really feel God is there, either. Gran holds morning prayers, and when she disciplines Libby, she quotes Scripture to her in a gracious manner.

Libby's brother, Tom, reminds her of God's promise that He will never leave or forsake her. Libby writes a letter to God in an effort to sort out her friendship with Phil. She still struggles with not feeling God's presence, but she continues to pray when she finds herself in scary situations. In the end, she confidently tells her brother via email that she knows God will help her find a good friend.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Libby's mom and dad move to Ecuador after praying about going on the missions field. They decide Libby will be better off in Scotland. Gran and Aunt Susannah are loving and fair in their treatment of her and in their discipline. As role models, they share biblical principles with Libby, enjoy a tight community with their neighbors and show hospitality to their B&B guests.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying: Libby tells lies and lies by omission as she and Phil sneak around trying to track down a criminal. There are negative consequences due to her lying.

Alcohol: Mr. MacLeod fires a man because of his drinking.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

10 to 13


Nancy Ellen Hird






Record Label



Desert Fire Press


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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