Monday, June 21, 2010

Witch Child, by Celia Rees

Witch Child

Mary Newbury was a young girl living in England in the late 1650's.  After the guardian, a woman she considered her grandmother, was accused and convicted of witchcraft, Mary was whisked away to the new world along with a group of Puritans seeking to join a previously established settlement.  In the new world, Mary realizes that she must be quite careful to hide her abilities.  She befriends one of the natives, and learns about the forest near the Puritanical town of Beulah.  When hardships befall the townspeople, and strange behaviors are manifested in some of the young girls, witchcraft is suspected.  What will happen to Mary in this strange new world?

Once again, I am reading a young adult novel to expand my repertoire a bit.  This book was extraordinarily well written, and from the moment I picked it up, I forgot it was written for a strictly young adult audience.  As far as historical fiction goes, this was more well researched than many adult novels, and while the language was  not terribly difficult, there was a certain sophistication in the manner of writing.

Celia Rees captivates the reader by transporting them back in time.  I could see the scenes play out in my mind, because they were well and richly written.  The characters were robust and yet mysterious.  We are never completely told what power Mary possesses, nor the true evil that lurks among the townspeople.

It is good historical fiction like this that can ignite a passion for learning in young adults.  I praise Celia Rees for her wonderful work.  I am excited to learn that there is a sequel to this book, and hope to read it, as well as other works by Rees.