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The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

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It is the year 1687, and 16-year-old Kit Tyler has just arrived in Connecticut after the death of her grandfather, to find her aunt. She has spent her whole life on the sunny, tropical island of Barbados, free-spirited and impulsive, and the gray, dreary, and above all restrictive attitude of the New England Puritans seems to her like a prison. But she has no other family in the world, and she must depend on her aunt’s family’s generosity to survive.

Kit seems to do nothing but get in trouble. She must learn to work for the whole family when before she was waited on by her own slaves, and conform to the traditional beliefs of this new society. Somehow she can never seem to help one of her cousins, Mercy, while she ends up in a love triangle with the other, Judith. But through it all she finds solace in a very special place, and the people she meets there—Nat, a young sailor, Prudence, a child she secretly teaches to read, and Hannah, an old lady who is the so-called “Witch of Blackbird Pond.” Kit keeps returning to this place, even when her uncle warns her away.

This book is a good picture of this region at that time, illustrating both the mind-set of the people as well as the historical backdrop, supported by sporadic cameos from real people. The author is very fair towards Puritan society—she points out both the strengths and the weaknesses, using Kit as an outsider’s point of view. Of course, a spunky heroine, likable supporting characters, and some really sweet romances make the book an enjoyable read. For some solid historical fiction, pick up The Witch of Blackbird Pond.




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