Last week my school librarian came into my classroom before school and handed me a book. I looked at the cover: Witch Child by Celia Rees.
Her introduction? It takes place in New England, during the era of the puritans and the Salem Witch trials.
Oooooh, I thought (and probably said) I LOVE anything about the Salem witch trials.
But wait, she said. There’s more. In this case, the main character actually IS a witch.
Is it possible to love a book before reading the first page?
The premise of Witch Child presents the perfect brew of suspense and intrigue and history. The novel is told as a found story, the recently discovered diary of a fourteen-year-old girl who leaves England to voyage across the ocean in the wake of a tragedy. The novel chronicles her attempts to forge her way in a small village founded by a zealous puritan in the wilderness beyond Salem. The diary is part of the story, the discovery of it in an old quilt by a modern-day historian, the arrival of it back in the 1600s as a gift from mother to daughter, and the stubborn refusal of that daughter to give up writing in it despite the fact that most frown on her “ink-stained fingers.” Still, Mary writes, even if writing might cost her everything, including her life.
Witches, diaries, a passionate writer, New England history…my librarian advised me that I would devour Witch Child on my own voyage (by plane, not boat, like Witch Child’s protagonist) from Alaska to the east coast (for the adventure of my younger brother’s AMAZING wedding), and that’s exactly what I did. I’d recommend it for anyone who admires historical fiction, especially historical fiction with a twist.
Oh, and yes, it is possible to love a book before reading the first page.
(p.s. Here's a link to the website all about Witch Child.)