Witch Child by Celia Rees
The driving force behind me reading this book was the publisher. I’m not kidding – Candlewick is one I trust to produce interesting books, so a historical fiction book produced by them? I couldn’t resist, and overcame my aversion to the cover.
I loved the framing of the story – the journal entries that were supposedly discovered centuries later and are studied as historical treasures. I loved the is-she-or-isn’t-she aspect of Mary as a new way of addressing Puritans and witch trials in Colonial America (and England too).
The writing is engaging, and the story is compelling. While I was expecting the overall plot line that unfolded, there were several subplots that occurred that included aspects that I hadn’t anticipated, so that was enjoyable to discover where the author was taking all the threads in the story.
The ending is abrupt, and had me frustrated that I didn’t have the sequel, Sorceress, on hand and ready to read. I’m impatiently waiting for my copy from the library to discover what it reveals about the story. My only hesitation for recommending it is for those who don’t want to read about witches or witchcraft in any form. Otherwise, it’s a compelling read with strong writing and some well-developed characters.
When Mary sees her grandmother accused of witchcraft and hanged for the crime, she is silently hurried to safety by an unknown woman. The woman gives her tools to keep the record of her days – paper and ink. Mary is taken to a boat in Plymouth and from there sails to the New World where she hopes to make a new life among the pilgrims. But old superstitions die hard and soon Mary finds that she, like her grandmother, is the victim of ignorance and stupidity, and once more she faces important choices to ensure her survival. With a vividly evoked environment and characters skilfully and patiently drawn, this is a powerful literary achievement by Celia Rees that is utterly engrossing from start to finish.
Title: Witch Child
Author: Celia Rees
Category: Young Adult Historical Fiction
My Rating: 3.5
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