Austen's Reviews > A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi
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's review
Apr 17, 10

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from April 13 to 17, 2010

"There are no witches, child. They exist only in the Puritan heart. The ancestors of these people hereabouts came to this land with a vision of a godly society. They came to escape the past. What they quickly discovered is that the nature of man and woman is such that sin can flourish here as well as from whence they came. What they do not yet understand is that the spirit it took to tame this wilderness is so strong it would not bow to the authority of the Puritan covenant and its ministers. So strong that it will always question authority. They see this not as something to celebrate, but as a failure of their vision. So they seek blame." - Mary Bradbury, "Chapter 22: Under the Hanging Tree"

I was proctoring for my wife's middle school for the TCAP tests. After the morning session was over, the teacher of the class I was assigned to gave the kids a choice: to either remain quiet until the allotted time was past, or read. This was one of the choices she offered, and I'm glad I had a chance to explore the Salem Witch Trials from the "witness" of the young Susanna. Some liberties taken with official historical attitudes and situations, which the author explains very well in the wrap-up note.

A very sober reminder of what happens when fear and mistrust mix with mischief and intolerance, blooming like a virus into deadly suspicion and terror. Some very well written passages about the conflict that occurs when one questions oneself in the midst of a horrific event that has little control and every sign of getting worse before it gets better. When the bodies begin to accumulate, great courage must be taken to not only control your own fear, but to also stand in the face of what may not be considered popular in order to stop the madness and make people see sense.

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Reading Progress

04/13/2010 page 51
15.94% ""You're not angry with me, then? " "Enlightened thoughts coming from a child of mine will never bring me to anger.""
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