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A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials
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A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  3,975 ratings  ·  367 reviews
Susanna desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage. What she doesn't realize is that the girls are about to set off a torrent of false accusations leading to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people. Susanna faces a painful choice. Should she keep quiet and let the witch-hunt panic continue, or should she "break ch ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1992)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayNumber the Stars by Lois LowryThe Luxe by Anna GodbersenThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Teen Historical Fiction
55th out of 846 books — 2,190 voters
The Crucible by Arthur MillerThe Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine HoweThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George SpeareThe Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen KentA Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi
Best of the Salem Witch Trials
5th out of 56 books — 148 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ellisa Barr
Mar 13, 2008 Ellisa Barr rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle-school age kids
Recommended to Ellisa by: a yahoo list
I didn't like this book at first because the way she portrayed the setting was too informational for me. Too many names and facts. I kept reading though and started getting interested in the story. I also didn't like the main character very much. I thought she seemed very weak and full of lame excuses, not really realistic. I did like that the book was based on real people though. I wish I'd known that before I finished the book. If I was in middle-school I think I would have loved this book, an ...more
Gretchen
I've always had a fascination with "the witch trials" that occured in Salem so when I found this book and found that it was fiction based on historical fact I was intrigued. Ms. Rinaldi's description throughout the novel was precise and makes the reader feel a part of the story, The reader can sympathize with the heroine and other characters of the story. The age old battle of good vs evil and what starts out as "sport" due to boredom that soon encompasses an entire town and indeed goes down in ...more
kari
Oct 18, 2010 kari rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010, ya
Historical fiction can be more fiction and less history and more history and less fiction, but this book is strong in both the story while keeping the history correct.
The language reads so authentic, not too old-fashioned, but highly readable while remaining true to the times.
I was pulled into the story from the first pages. What young girl doesn't ache to be a part of the group, particularly when it seems that they are having fun in a society where fun isn't readily available? Three hundred an
...more
Kate Morris(:
A Break with Charity
by: Ann Rinaldi

1. The setting of this book is Salem Village in 1692. The book demonstrates the Witch Trials and all the events that took place during this time.

2. This book follows a young girl, Susanna English through her experience with the Witch Trials. Before the trials began she knew the girls were faking, but she promised she wouldn't tell anybody. When the trials got worse she had trouble keeping the secret. Her family life changed a lot as more people got accused.
...more
Gaele
AudioBook Review
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 5


I’ve long held the belief that an Ann Rinaldi book opens the door to a younger reader, teaching them that they can connect and enjoy history. My daughter loved her books, and it fed her ability and willingness to explore more history, and not fear the research. What holds true with every book that I can name from this author, the characters are easy to understand and get to know, particularly for younger readers who are not as concerned with a
...more
Jennifer
Rinaldi's books are always hit or miss with me. Some of them are fascinating and I can't put them down. Others get so bogged down in history that character development seems lost at times. Fortunately, "A Break with Charity" is one of the former. I picked up this book from the school library on a Friday afternoon and read a few chapters before falling asleep that evening. Saturday morning, I refused to do anything else until I finished. I won't give away much of the plot, except to say that Rina ...more
Cindy
Jun 05, 2009 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: American History Students
Recommended to Cindy by: Zoe Morgan
I love what is written on the back of this book. It says, " WARNING: This is a historical novel. Read at your own risk. The writer feels it necessary to alert you to the fact that you might enjoy it."

I did enjoy it, very much. I knew generally what happened during the salem witch trials, but never any deals. This book did a very good job of teaching and entertaining at the same time. A very good read. I think that student of American history should read this.

Note to parents: There are hangings,
...more
Paige
2.5 stars

I can't believe it's been over three months since I posted a book review! I've been reading, of course--for school. And my interests have been leading me more toward blog posts and essays than books. A lot of it comes down to a move we had, both unexpected and unwanted, that combined with school and running a business to squash any free time I had for reading and reviews.

I actually read this book during the aforementioned move, about two months ago, so the details are a little fuzzy to
...more
Maureen
I found this book in the "young adult" section of the library, so I already knew that the novel is most likely directed towards a more adolescent population. The vocabulary and style was nothing too difficult, and most of the points that were being made were fairly straightforward and easy to derive even from just a breezy reading. That being said, I think the best aspect of this little book is the fact that it's mostly based on what the author has found in her historical research. Almost all th ...more
Anna
This book shows so much about the Salm Witch Trials, and not just the history but the people


SPOILERS


The Beginning:
I obviously knew that the circle were the girls that accused people of witchcraft. At this part, I felt like she would start accusing also. When she went to see Tituba, it was really strange because she kind of predicted it exactly the way it was going to happen. When she decided to talk to Ann, I thought she would just tell someone like it was someone else's story and pretend that
...more
Rachel
Comments I wrote in my 8th-grade reading log:
"This book took place during the Salem Witch trials. It was from the point of view of a girl living in Salem at that time. She wished she ahd stepped in and said something, anything, to stop that madness. It made me think of the quote 'If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem' "
Wendy
Girls hated their prospects in life so they allow ovwer 100 people to be accused of witchcraft and to be put to death. All in the name of Puritanism. I love books about the hypocracy of religion. I saw the movie Two Men of Florence this past weekend about Galileo and I loved it.
Jac Sevasta
Foremost, it was interesting getting a fictionalized feel of the "characters" we always hear about when learning about the Salem Witch Trials.

This book was a little too slow-paced for my liking, with a quick and not-altogether-satisfying payoff. However, I did like putting myself in Susanna's shoes. What would I have done after weighing some pretty terrible options? As some students were reading through this one, it was fascinating to hear them compare groups of girls in their own school (a midd
...more
Jordan Trimiew
I enjoyed reading this book!

Susanna English lives in a small town called Salem in New England. During the book Susanna joins a circle of girls who meet at the Reverend Joseph Green’s house every night. The leader of the group is a girl named Ann Putnam and she accuses innocent people of witchcraft. The circle is known as the “afflicted” girls. And later on the girls accuse Susanna’s parents of witchcraft. But the parents were found guilty because everything the girls say is what is believed. Als
...more
Kara
Feb 17, 2009 Kara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kara by: Annalise
I've had an interest in this subject for quite some time, heightened by the fact that I recently learned I have an ancestor who was accused of witchcraft in the days of Salem. This was a believable story that drew me in and made me want to read more.
Courtney
This is a kind of sad book, with all the hangings and all. But is was still good. It is, however, my least favorite out of all of her books that I've read. That doesn't make it not good though. They were all good, I just liked the others better. :)
Cathrine Glover
This was an interesting historical Fiction about the Salem witch trials. It will keep a readers interest, easy to read, appeals more to females than to males. Can use as an option in a middle school for a historical fiction novel.
Jenna
Jun 30, 2014 Jenna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Teenagers and Up
Recommended to Jenna by: 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher
Shelves: favorites
I read this book with my Language Arts class this year, and I just fell in love with the book! It is so informational and insightful! Ann Rinaldi writes and talks about the characters like she knew them personally. In my class we also did lots of research on this time period and she is spot on with are her details! I feel she did a wonderful job with naming the chapters and being in such detail you can see exactly what it was like in your head! Ms. Rinaldi has so many quotes from the book that a ...more
Seaport
I checked this book from the library, intrigued with USA history. I recommend this book to anyone! It's really good, sad- but good. It's an eye opener and well written.
Cortnie
I really enjoyed this book. it was like part two to the Crucible, but by a different author and a different story, but it's still the same story. awesome.
Shae
This is a well research young adult novel about the Salem Witch trials, suggested for our book club by several mothers who had used it while homeschooling their children. This time period (1600s, New England, Puritan communities) has been visited many times in literature and film and for good reason. Our book club had a great discussion on the motivations behind the people's actions, how to manage our own fears, and how "witch hunts" still happen in our day. The actual writing was clear and enga ...more
Carolyn
Disturbing.very well written. Thoroughly researched. Awesome.
Jason Chen
"A Break with Charity" by Ann Rinaldi was a story about the Salem Witch Trials which occurred in 1692 in early American days. This was a Historical Fiction book, written in the perspective of the main character, Susanna English. Susanna wishes to join the circle of girls because she wanted the fortune teller, Tituba, to tell her when her older brother, William will be returning home from sea. She was worried if he was still alive or not. But she later realizes something dark about the group of g ...more
Rebecca
I decided to read this book because of its inclusion on the challenged/banned list--presumably because the title includes the work “witch.” So much has been written about the Salem Witch Trials that I really wasn’t expecting anything significantly different or new, but I have to give Ann Rinaldi credit for coming up with a way to insert non-Puritan thought and, at times, a modern point of view into a period piece in a way that works. By selecting a non-puritan narrator—a young girl who would ha ...more
Jamieson
A break with charity
book by Ann Rinaldi
review by Jamieson Wade

A Break With Charity by Ann Rinaldi is a historical fiction book. It takes place in Salem and explains the events leading up to and during the Salem witch trials. The story follows Susanna as she recalls the events during a reconciliation in the church. In this book the reader learns how peer pressure can affect people and how love is not powerful enough to save everyone.
In this book there are a circle of children that are the 17th c
...more
Christie
I have come early this afternoon to sit, before anyone else arrives, in the quiet of Salem Meetinghouse.

Susanna English has always been an outsider among the girls of Salem Village because of her family's wealth and her father's religious convictions. She desperately wants to be a part of a group of girls who visit the parsonage every week to get their futures told by the reverend's slave, Tituba. Soon, Susanna discovers that their activities are anything but innocent fun and the group's leade
...more
Rachel
I'm a little torn on this one . . . I was pretty bothered by what I think were big historical inaccuracies (granted, I'm no historian and definitely not an expert on this time period . . . or any time period, really . . . but I read this alongside a few nonfiction accounts of the Salem witch trials and none of them jive with the lifestyles, thought processes, and reasoning portrayed in this book). I struggled to get past things like, for example, young girls traveling miles alone in the dead of ...more
Rebecca Radnor
Starts in 1706, w/28-year-old Susanna English waiting to hear Ann Putnam ask forgiveness of Salem. Susanna was a real a person and the book is based on her story. The story is that even though Susanna had not been part of the circle of girls who claimed to be set upon by witches, she had wanted to be and had known that the girls were lying the whole time. She had known they were just doing it as a lark, a way to break free of the boredom and restrictions of Puritan society. She had said nothing ...more
Karyl
I've always been interested in the Salem witch trials, ever since I learned about them sometime in grade school. When I lived in Rhode Island, I was able to go up to Salem a few times and visit the witch trial memorial. The fate of Giles Cory, the one man who refused to confess and who was pressed to death instead of hung, has always stuck in my head.

Rinaldi does an excellent job of bringing this event to life. I enjoyed the fact that she wrote it in an old-fashioned style; not only did the dial
...more
Paula
I found this book quite interesting and I would like to read more about the Salem Witch Trials. Susanna, the main character was not I would call a positive character, given the situation she was in, you could understand why but at the same time, I thought that the situation she was in, would make her want to do something about it, I understood how scared and lonely she was especially when facing the accusers and the subsequent hangings because of the lies that were being told in a town where eve ...more
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Books About Witch Trials 1 3 Jun 15, 2014 06:40PM  
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Ann Rinaldi (b. August 27, 1934, in New York City) is a young adult fiction author. She is best known for her historical fiction, including In My Father's House, The Last Silk Dress, An Acquaintance with Darkness, A Break with Charity, and Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons. She has written a total of forty novels, eight of which were listed as notable by the ALA. In 2000, Wolf by the Ears was lis ...more
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“I will stand by you. You must not be afraid. This is a brave land, Susanna, founded by brave people who never shrank from their duty or their vision of freedom. But this land has a future only if each of us stands up for what is right when it is given us to do so.” 5 likes
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