Allison's Reviews > Witch Child

Witch Child by Celia Rees
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's review
Mar 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, magical-realism-ish, strong-female-lead, ya-teen, tween
Read in March, 2012

Many of the reviews mention that this book is similar to other Salem-era witch hunt stories, and it's true that some elements of the same. But I think that there are some important differences in Rees' story, and it's those differences that I ended up liking the best.

Mary starts the book in a village in England where her grandmother is accused of and hanged for witchcraft. A mysterious stranger saves Mary from persecution and sends her over the Atlantic to the New World with a group of Puritans, thinking she'd be safer over there. (Oh the irony!) Mary spends probably the first half of the book traveling to the Puritan village where she will, of course, also be accused of witchcraft. It is this narrative of her voyage that is so different from other witch hunt novels I've read, and it really gives a new perspective to the story and to the harships and fears of the Puritans themselves.

What I loved most about Rees' book was her depiction of the New World through Mary's eyes, especially that of the deep, dark forest that covers the land. It made me sad to think that all of that forest is now gone thanks to the arrival of pilgrims like Mary and the Puritans. Another element that I enjoyed was that Mary befriends a Native American boy, and we get a bit of the Native American perspective on the Puritans' arrival through him.

The rest of the story is pretty typical. The reverand who thinks he's the next profit, the band of malicious girls who seek to revenge themselves on Mary by acting posessed and accusing her of bespelling them, etc. However, there's a twist at the end, and I have a feeling that Witch Child may be only the first in a new series.
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