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Witch Child - Celia Rees

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Celia Rees / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 240 Pages / Book is published 2001-06-04 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

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      11.06.2013 13:51
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      Full of Magic, Mystery, and Suspense

      'She was locked in the keep for more than a week. First they walked her up and down, up and down between them, for a day and a night until she could no longer hobble, her feet all bloody and swollen. She would not confess. So they set about to prove she was a witch...'

      PLOT

      The book is set in 1659, after the Civil War. There were many Puritans living in England who were concerned for their well-being and considered taking the journey to the New World, America, and starting a new life. The story is told in the past tense, through Diary entries by Mary Newbury, who was a young Woman living with her Grandmother at this turbulent time in England. After her Grandmother is executed for Witchcraft, Mary is escorted by a strange, yet familiar Woman to an Inn, and told she must travel to the New World, in order to escape the fate that her Grandmother met.

      After spending a night at the Inn, Mary travels to the docks, to join the thousands of Puritans on a Voyage to the New World. Mary is embraced into the Colony with open arms, but how long can she hide her true identity? Will the Church Pastor see through her? Will anyone discover her Diary, hidden away,divulging her true nature?

      Mary must try to fit in with the other members of the Colony, in order to preserve her life. If they discover what she really is, will they force her to leave the Colony, or will she meet the same fate as her Grandmother? And who is the strange Women that seems so familiar?

      MY OPINION

      I got this book a few years ago as a Birthday present. I was immediately drawn in by the front cover. The young girl on the front, supposedly Mary, stares out of the cover, inviting you to read her story. I've read this book several times, and I'm sure when I read it again, I'll enjoy it just as much. I have a keen interest in History, so Historical Fiction is always very appealing for me. The book is set at an interesting Period in History. The country was in doubt of it's future, people all over were suffering, and the New World of America was very appealing for those wanting to escape and start a new life for themselves and for their families.

      The story itself was very engaging, I really connected with Mary, and feared for her life every time somebody came close to discovering her secret. It's interesting to read about Witch trials from the perspective of a Witch. You learn that she isn't evil, like people made out the Witch's to be. She's a healer; she has no intentions of hurting anybody, and yet if she's found out, she will be condemned to execution.

      After suffering the loss of her Grandmother, and witnessing her brutal execution, you'd expect Mary to crawl into a hole and never come out. But she's a strong willed young Woman, she carries on with the life that she must lead, in order to appear normal and hide her true nature. For me, Historical Fiction with a strong Female character is always appealing, since Women were treated unequally, and often became downtrodden and weak.

      THE AUTHOR

      This book was written by Celia Rees, an Author I hadn't heard of at the time. She's written a wonderful book here, full of Historical facts, but also full of Magic. I've also read the sequel to this book, which was also fantastic, but told from a different point of few, and set in a different time period. I'll be writing up a review for that one soon.

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      30.04.2012 22:07
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      A great but for teens and adults alike!

      The other day I happened to come across a copy of 'Witch Child' by Celia Rees; a book that I always wanted to read in my early teens but I never got round to it. It was quite a welcome change to read a slightly easier going teen book after the stack of Victorian novels I have read for Uni this year! I had finished the book in a few days and I was reminded of the joy of reading a book that doesn't require analysing and pulling apart as I read it!

      The story is set in 1659, a time of political unrest and of course, the savage witch-hunts. It is told in the form of a journal by a young girl called Mary, who, after her Grandmother's hanging, discovers that she is a witch. In an attempt to hide her identity and reach safety from persecution she flees to the New World of America. However, overseas life isn't as any of the travellers expected it, and Mary's identity cannot be lost so easily.

      I was incredibly impressed with this book; it was one that I literally couldn't put down. I'm glad I finally read it after all these years and it is a book that can appeal to adults and teens alike. At first I was unsure of what to make of the ending as it was left pretty unresolved; however, after considering it, I feel that is the most successful ending Rees could have produced. As we know, there is only one other ending a witch could have expected...

      Happy reading!

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        25.10.2010 18:02
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        Finding myself with a spare half hour on my hands before work a few days ago, I decided to pop into a charity shop and browse through the books - and found my attention caught by this book. The subject of witchcraft, particularly the superstitions surrounding it, is something I know little about, and I thought that this book, despite being a work of fiction, might teach me a little.

        It tells the story of Mary, a teenage girl who lives with her grandmother, a village wise-woman and healer . People come to Mary's grandmother for her skills with herbs - she can deliver babies, cure illnesses, and bring blessings down on the crops .

        However, when things go wrong in the village, people are quick to single out Marys grandmother as a witch. After torture, and trial by ducking, the old lady is burned at the stake - and Mary finds herself whisked away from the scene by a mysterious lady, who gives Mary money and provisions, and sends her off with a group heading for the New World, where they hope for freedom from the civil war and religious uncertainty in England .

        Written in diary form by Mary, this book details the superstitions and customs of the day, and tells of her travel overseas to a new country, and the struggles to settle down and establish a new life in a new country. The pace of the book is rather plodding and slow moving, but there is some excellent detail, particularly in reference to the herbs used as medicines, the local flora, and the religious fervour that led to such superstitions .

        I did find some parts of the book lacked depth and explanation . At one point, Mary refers to something as being a 'worthy of Tradescents Ark ', offering no explanation as to what this 'Ark' might be . (Its actually a museum of curios set up by John Tradescent, a royal gardener, with items purloined from the collection of his murdered master, the George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham and lover of King James I and his son .) I felt this statement would be something many teenagers would not understand , and that it could have been explained better .

        Although I liked the concept of the diary entries being sown into a quilt to avoid them being found , I found the last few pages of the book very confusing . They seemed to be written by someone in the present day, saying they were trying to trace Mary and her descendants, and asking anyone with information to email an address. This seemed incredibly pointless, since the book is a work of fiction, and this small intrusion fromthe modern day rather ruined the books ending for me .

        Overall, this is a readable book, with great depth of detail in some places, and then not enough in others . It assumes a great deal of prior knowledge from it's teen readers to make sense of certain statements, and the ending was rather odd and didn't really fit with the rest of the book .

        I would not recommend buying this book . Borrow it from the library if you're curious, but don't expect great things . 3 stars .

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        05.01.2010 19:48

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        A throughly enjoyable read, graet beach read as you can put down and pick up without back tracking

        I really liked this book and found it light reading before bedtime, it was straight forward and not too complicated.

        I think that its aimed at teenagers but I do think its suitable for adults as well.

        I am writing what i thought of the book without going into too much detail, i could type the whole back page in but feel that is not what you want to read.

        It is set in the period at the end of the english civil war which i must be honest is not for me.

        Mary has seen her grandmother taken away by the englishmen and tortured and hung in front of her eyes on the accusation of witchcraft. As are many women in that time Mary however, is rescued and sent to the New World, America, on board a ship of Puritan pilgrims. She does her best to hide her past and avoid drawing suspicion on herself, but secrets will come out and they think all witches and their decendants are related to the devil.

        It then sets out on a voyage of discovery and uncertainty . And even has meetings with the devil. Mary the central character in the book is a good main character and is very believable.
        I love the way celia rees writes she goes into just enough detail and twists and turns without being too factual which results in skipping numerous pages at a time.

        This is not nomally my kind of book and was bought as a present and as such i will look out for celia rees books in future because she tell a good yarn

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        04.01.2010 20:36
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        A true story in the form of a diary about the grandchild of a witch.

        Witch Child by Celia Rees

        Price - £6.99 from Water Stones, but I got it on a buy one get one half price deal, so I bought the sequel , "Sorceress" at the same time.

        This book is made up from a remarkable collection of notes called "The Mary Papers", which were discovered by chance hidden inside a quilt dating from the colonial period. The notes seem to make up an irregular diary dating from March 1659.

        The diary begins when Mary is living with her grandmother but we quickly learn that her grandmother is to be burned at the stake after being proved to be a witch. Thus mary is left alone. A strange woman comes for her who turns out to be her mother, she helps Mary escape and puts her on a boat heading to Salem to start a new life. Mary meets another lone women, Martha, who although much older than Mary becomes her travelling companion. Like Mary she is a medicine woman.

        Their adventures start on the ship where Mary makes herself useful by helping to deliver a baby, mixing tonics and medicines and scribing for the Reverend Elias Cornwall. Their adventure continues on land when they settle and start a new community.

        At first things go well for Mary but her quest for knowledge and adventure bring history to repeat itself and soon land her under suspision of being a witch. Witch craft is certainly being used but not by her, however because of her poor status she is blamed and the book ends with Mary fleeing for her life.

        The last few entries in the diary are made by Martha not Mary, but it is not until the sequell that you find out how life will turn out for Mary.

        This is a charming read with a suspensful and gripping story which will have you mesmorized till the very end and leaves you with more questions than answers! My advice is to read the sequel as well, as only then will you get all the answers.

        I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a gripping story with lots of twists and turns.

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          12.07.2009 18:07
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          A moving first hand account of life in the Salem Witch Trials.

          I first came across the book Witch Child in Year 8 when my teacher chose to focus on it for a few weeks as part of a topic for English, because it also tied in what we were doing in history at the time. I really liked the book when we were reading it, and so when I saw it at a second hand book shop, I couldn't resist and had to buy it.
          The cover is very simple with just the author and title on the front and the spine, a blurb on the back and a black and white sepia picture of a girl on the front, assumed to be the main protagonist.

          The plot of the book is very complex and leaves you guessing as to what really did happen because there are lots of things that you could question, things that aren't quite so clear. It is a historical novel, being set in 1600's, which was the time of the Puritans and the Salem Witch Trials, events which are very much prominent in this novel. The novel opens with introducing us to Mary who lives in a small village, her grandmother is suspected of being a witch and so is subjected to all of the humiliating and painful trials. Her grandmother is sentenced to hanging, and Mary is stood in the crowd. She knows that she is in danger, and could be next so it is lucky when she is taken away to a grand house for her safety. However, she can't stay there for long and instead is sent to travel to America with a group of Puritans. After a 6 week long boat journey they arrive in America, the chosen land. Other wise known as Salem.

          While this is a teenagers book, it could easily be enjoyed by adults, it is really complex and a deep novel that would get you thinking. The historical aspect could also appeal because it is all very accurate.

          The book is written in diary form by Mary, and can get slightly confusing at times, because the book is meant to make you think as on the surface it has 3 authors. There is Mary, the fictional character who writes a diary. Then there is Alison Ellman who apparently found the diary and made it into a book, at the start of the book there is a short message from Alison Ellman saying that she is looking for more information on Mary. Finally, the most obvious is that Celia Rees is on the front cover.

          The diary entries are very frank and honest, Mary is very open and really engages with the reader. We find so much, and it is not just her view, we hear what has happened to other people as well as the actual story. Her opinions do make it better though. There was excellent description, and you could really picture the life she was talking about in the little English village, and then later in Pilgrim America.

          Although I have read the sequel, it just doesn't really compare to this and I wouldn't really recommend it.

          Celia Rees is quite a popular author, I had read a few of her books before such as 'Pirates!' but I would say this is her best work and probably also her most popular.

          It is only 250 pages, so it shouldn't take long to read at all. I did of course take longer though since I was reading it at school and had to do activities to do with it as well.

          All of the history is very accurate, and it would be very useful if you were learning about the Salem Witch trials in class, maybe as a different way of learning. I actually learnt quite a lot from reading this.

          Overall, I would definitely recommend it.

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            24.05.2009 17:40
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            A teenage story which spans generations.

            I should probably warn you now, I am still reeling from reading this book. I finished it not half an hour past, and am so affected by it, felt compelled to share it with others immediately.

            Witch Child tells the story of Mary. A witch.

            The book begins in 1659 England in the grip of civil war, when Mary's grandmother, who has reared her since a baby, is hanged for witchcraft. Aged just 14, she witnesses the various 'Witch tests' her Grandmother is subjected to, the final one being 'float or Drown' where the suspected witch is tied by her hand to her foot and submerged in water. Should she drown, she is vindicated as a witch. Should she float, then this is seen as proof she is indeed a witch and shall be hung. A lose-lose situation, Mary's Grandmother floats, and is sentenced to hanging.

            In the crowd, Mary is aware of feeling turning against her, but is determined to be with her beloved Grandmother to the end. Just as the deed is about to be done, Mary is covered in a cloak, and whisked away in a grand carriage by a mysterious upper class woman, who feeds and clothes Mary, and provides her with a means to escape. A ship carrying a brethren of Puritans heading for a new life in America. Salem to be exact.

            I came across this book quite by accident when offered a swap for one of my books on ReadItSwapIt. I chose the book as I am interested and intrigued in this period of time, and the persecution of witches and in Paganism in general.

            I hadn't realised until I received the book that this was actually a teenage/children's book. I'm sad to say it actually got shelved for quite a while. However, this week I resolved to make a dent in the large 'To Be Read' shelf before acquiring any more books and decided to tackle the shortest books first to get them 'out of the way'.

            So yesterday saw me starting 'Witch Child' And from the first page I could not put it down and had I not other distractions (pesky kids!) and needed to sleep I would have finished it in one sitting.

            The book is told in diary form throughout, by Mary, our heroine. It charts just over a year in her life, from the cruel murder of her Grandmother, through the turbulent journey over the Atlantic, and the life of the first settlers in New England.

            It is rare that such a book can pull you in with such ferociousness, yet I felt this book did from the very first page. Mary tell's her story in a way that makes you feel every feeling with her, hope every hope and fear every fear. As I read this book, I became Mary, such is the authors skill at getting inside our heroine and giving her a voice. The characters around her are told with depth and colour, making them easy to imagine. And the sights, smells and sounds of hope and fear in a new land fills the reader with the emotions felt by those first pilgrims.

            It's been a long time since I read a book aimed at teenagers, over 18 years ago probably. Yet I know that as a teenager I would have adored this book, and can see how it would be loved today too. While set 350 years ago, it's easy to relate the troubles Mary encounters then, in today's world. As a teenager, there is nothing more frightening than feeling different. While prejudices have changed, they are very much still prevalent. The effect of rumour and gossip can be make or break in the school yard, as it was in these times, and the 'In crowd' can wreck havoc in life now, for those they choose to. The consequences may differ now, we don't hang people on rumour and prejudice in this country any more, but the catastrophic effects of power, jealousy, intolerance, ignorance, fear, misunderstanding and rumour will always be relevant, particularly to teenagers finding their own way in life.

            I read The Crucible by Arthur Miller at school, aged around 13 and was affected deeply by it at the time. There's little doubt that this book borrows heavily from it, but by taking the angle of the teenage Mary and written in personal diary form, makes it more accessible and readable to the teenage generation of today. At 250 pages, it's not too long, and engages the reader throughout making the pages turn themselves. Witch Child is now required reading in secondary schools in the UK.

            The book begins and ends with small fore and afterwords, from a woman named Alison Ellman. These suggest that the manuscript was found in a quilt, 300 years after it was written and asks for information from any one who knows anything of the families listed. This made me wonder whether the book was actually based on fact. A bit of research shows that it is fiction. The author, Celia Rees studied American History at university, and also at the same time read a book on Matthew Hopkins, witch finder general during the English civil war and was inspired to write a book about a girl who travelled between the two worlds of the Puritan pilgrims and native Americans.

            There is a sequel to Witch Child, titled The sorceress which I am about to seek out. Celia Rees has also written other historical fiction books aimed at the teenage market which received rave reviews. Although sadly not a teenager any more, I shall be collecting them all, to read myself and then pass on to my children.

            Witch Child is a book that creeps under your skin from the first page. I have little doubt that this book will become a classic. As an adult I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a teenager I know I would have loved it. Credit is indeed due to the author who writes in a simple yet intelligent way, never dumbing down or becoming patronising in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience. It is a book that stops you in your life, and question humanity. I absolutely recommend.

            www.witchchild.com
            written by Celia Rees
            Published by Bloomsbury uk in 2000

            ISBN 0-7475-5009-3

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              11.02.2009 14:46
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              A tale of a young witch living in puritan society

              I am not afraid to say I have a short attention span for books, and though I love to read, I find a lot of adult books tedious, so often I find myself reverting to my favourites when i was younger. and Witch Child is one of those books.

              Witch Child is aimed at young teens. Its a story of a girl called (or re-named) Mary living in the 17th century, who's grandmother is a witch and gets hung for being one. Mary is also a witch, and is kidnapped by a mysterious woman before the village elders get a chance to hang her too...she is then given a new name and a new identity, and put on a ship to America with a load of Puritans, who are also escaping religious persecution. Once the ship arrives in America, the puritans take a dangerous journey into the heart of the massive forests , where native american people still wander. In their new home in the heart of the forest, a pious pastor is quite in denouncing the "satanism" of the Native American people, and as some strange occurences start to happen, they begin to realise there is a Witch among them!

              Witch Child is told in a diary format, and is a convincing portrayal of a young woman living back in the early days of the US. Childhood wasnt even recognised back then, and her mature outlook helps enforce this, she seem almost passive as people begin to suspect each other of committing crimes against God. She is a slightly wooden character but also very likeable, as are the family around her who essentially adopted her...although they hae very harsh religious codes, they are essentially good people.

              Being a book for younger teens it is quite a simplistic tale but it is mysterious and interesting enough to keep adults interested too. There is some lovely descriptions of the Northern Lights and great whales on the long journey to America, and life in the grip of icy winter in the great forest is suitable chilling.

              Overall this is an enjoyable book if you aren't too hung up on your literary criticism. It isnt the best written book in the world and is probaboy not accurate historical fiction, but it is a very humanistic and interesting read. It makes a nice light Sunday read, which it is quite easy to finish in a day. Sort of like ice cream for your brain!

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              24.06.2008 04:53
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              Highly recommended

              Witch Child was written by Celia Rees who is a British horror and fantasy author. She has written a total of 24 books since 1993. Her books are generally for teenagers or older children as they do contain some themes which will might scare younger children.

              Witch Child is the first in a two part series of books, it is followed by "Sorceress", they have both been big hits. These two books are historical fiction books written in the form of a seventeenth century diary. They were published in 2000 and 2002.

              Witch Child is set in the late 1600's and early 1700's in the midst of the English witch hunt. The main character of this book is 14 year old Mary Nutall, she and her Grandmother are witches. However Mary's Grandmother is burnt at the stake so Mary is sent abroad by a mysterious noblewoman so that she will be safe from the witch trials. She ends up in Salem with a group of Puritans who still live in constant fear of witches.
              Her fondness for walking in the woods, her knowledge of herbs and the healing arts, her education and her friendship with one of the natives combine to keep her under constant suspicion of being a witch which is putting her in immense danger.

              I think that this is a good book because it's main theme is about not being accepted, at some point in our lives we have all felt that we are not accepted or that we don't fit in. Thankfully for us this just causes upset unlike for poor Mary who's life it endangers constantly. I like to read to escape from the real world and everyday problems, this is a good book for that because it will sweep you away back to the past and all the way to Salem America, it's a very addictive novel so once you pick it up you won't be able to put it back down until you're finished. It's also good for people who are interested in the with trials or American historyas it contains a lot of factual information as Vcelia Rees has put a lot of effort into her research.

              This is a very interesting book full of information about how hard life was for the people crossing the ocean on such a large journey and to live with the constant fear of people accusing others of being witches. I would definitely recommend it to others as well as any other books by Celia Rees as she puts a lot of effort into them.

              A really good read, enjoy!!

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                20.03.2003 03:26
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                A while back a friend of mine plonked a book in my hands with the instruction "read that, you'll love it". Luckily I have the kind of friends who really do know what I like so as soon as I found myself with an evening to spare I curled up on the sofa and began to read. The cover for the book is in itself inviting. I do have a thing about book covers - they can put me off a book. Witch Child however is beautifully covered. A stunning enigmatic young girl looks out at you in sepia tones and it immeditaely sets the stage for the words inside. It may sound odd to say it but gives a sense of richness - like you know that you're just not going to be disappointed. Witch Child is set in the 17th Century - the time of the Witchfinder General and puritanism. People have learned to distrust each other and blame is easily come by should anything, absolutely anything go wrong in daily life. 'Evil' could be living next door in the form of a women, man, child or donkey for that matter. It is in the world that we find Mary, a young girl who lives with her Grandmother. Like the rest of the villagers, Mary and her Grandmother go to Church but neither she or her Grandmother are Christians. They are witches. Mary's Grandmother is the village wise women who helps birth children, heal the sick and honour the dead. Since she was little, Mary has been learning the Craft. But now everything is about to change. After much suspicion from other folk in the village, Mary's Grandmother is finally accused of 'evil' witchcraft and the only punishment is death. Now Mary must escape this corrupt and dangerous world before the same thing happens to her... Eventually Mary journeys to the New World (America) and finds herself living under the the strict rules of puritanical society again. Unfortunately life history has a way of catching up with you and soon there are some in the village who are suspicious of her - jealously and pettiness f
                rom others become a serious threat to Mary's life. In the midst of all this is her love for Jaybird - a Native American boy who teaches her the true meaning of love and friendship. But there love needs to remain a secret. Witch Child is written in the form of a diary kept by Mary and hidden by being sewn into a quilt. This was found by someone called Alison Ellman who only makes an appearance at the beginning and the end of the book. Mary's diary gives the novel a unique sense of immediacy and intimacy. Her character is utterly believable - so much so that many apparently thought she was real. I found this novel totally absorbing from beginning to end. I just couldn't put it down. I warmed to Mary immediately and all the other characters are well developed and brilliantly devised. Rees manages to keep the reader on the edge of her seat - the tension is palpable. On her website the author talks about how much research she undertook for both this book and it's sequel and that is evident throughout. She pays attention to detail without drowning us in it. Despite the fact that this book is aimed at the teenage market I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone over the age of 14. I'm 35 and I didn't feel like I was reading a 'kids' book. Set against the backdrop of puritanism and the white man's assumption that the New World has land up for the grabbing this novel not only endears you to it's characters but also gives you a history lesson along the way. Shortlisted for the Guadian fiction prize, this is an outstanding contribution to teenage fiction and definately one for every school library. Celia Rees has a rather lovely website with more information at http://www.witchchild.com/

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                  26.02.2002 04:01
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                  "I am Mary. I am a witch" This is our introduction to the central character in Celia Rees' story 'Witch Child' Mary is a teenage girl living during the seventeenth century. She tells us her own story through the pages of her journal, which are discovered sewn into an old quilt that's being restored centuries after her death. Brought up from birth by her grandmother Eliza Nuttall, Mary knows neither her mother nor her father and so has nobody to turn to when Eliza is tortured and hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Then out of the blue, a mysterious lady rescues Mary from her former neighbours and does her best to hide her and her past from the witch finders. Her benefactor finally places Mary with a group of Puritans who are about to leave for America to join a new coloney. Life is very different for Mary with her new companions. She tries to copy the behaviour of the other young women, particularly the daughter of the family to whom Mary has become attatched. Rebekah Rivers is a 'perfect little Puritan maid.' She is quiet, demure and subservient; everything that Mary is not and although she does her best to fit in, from the very beginning she is seen as 'different.' Outside the Rivers family, her only ally is Martha Everdale, an old woman who seems to have an affinity with Mary. Soon after her arrival, Mary has to begin another journey as she and the rest of the community set sail for the new world. Joining them is Elias Cornwell, the devout and pious nephew of the parish leader Reverand Johnson. Mary takes an instant dislike to Cornwell, but unfortunately he seems to have different ideas about her. The dreadful, cramped conditions aboard ship breed disease, ill feeling and suspicion among the passengers and when strange events and occurances prompt whisperings of witchcraft, Mary becomes even more uncomfortable. To add to this, she is forced to betray something of her
                  unorthodox upbringing when her knowledge of healing and herbs is required to help Rebekah's mother through a difficult labour. When the ship finally reaches America, Mary is both relieved and apprehensive to be there. The group disembark in Salem and from here they travel inland to join their families, already living in an established settlement called Beulah. As their new houses and farms begin to take shape, so to does the community structure. There is a village council, but in reality, Reverands' Johnson and Cornwell rule through fear of devine retribution and expulsion from the community should anyone step out of line. Mary and Martha find that their lifestyles and practices are viewed with suspicion and disapproval and soon, the little freedom they have is taken away from them. I've already given away too much of the plot - although I've left out the most important and exciting section - but I will say that things don't improve for Mary in the remaining chapters. The entire book is well written and powerful, but towards the end I couldn't put it down. Apart from the unusual and gripping story, the thing that really struck me about this book was the strength of the characters. Mary has to be constantly on her guard in increasingly hostile surroundings so as not to arouse suspicion about her background. On occasion she meets people who have similar stories to tell or who are at least sympathetic towards her own. Even with these people though, nothing can ever be spoken freely and yet her bravery and independence still shine through without the words. The Reverands' Johnson and Cornwell are also very powerful characters. Faced with a new and unfamiliar world, the Puritan community turn to their religious leaders for reinforcement of their faith and moral beliefs and these two are only too happy to play the role of divine judge. Even before I opened this book, I was struck by the image of
                  the girl on the cover. I'd love to know what the model for this picture was thinking, or what the photographer said to her, because there's something about the way she looks out at you that made me want to pick up the book and start reading. In conclusion then, this is a powerful and emotional story for older children and - in my opinion - adults. I really enjoyed this book and I hope that you will consider taking a look at it sometime.

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                    25.11.2001 22:22
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                    Read Celia Rees book Witch Child if you enjoy reading diaries about the lives of others. The Witch Child is based on the story of a girl called Mary, when her grandmother - who she lives with is killed for being a witch Mary is rescued by a wealthy woman who turns out to be her mother - the story as to why Mary did not stay with her mother is unclear other than that her mother did her a huge favour. To save Mary from the same fate as her grandmother this wealthy woman sends Mary on the next boat to the Americas where life is said to be freer. Mary soon becomes close to Martha an elderly woman who reminds Mary of her grandmother. Together they cross the sea with a number of other people who belong to the same community in the hope of freeing themselves from the war at home. Upon arriving they further set out to set up their new lives. The town in which they live turns out to be exactly the same as at home and is just as prejudiced as before. When Mary's identity as a witch is suspected she soon flees and leaves all of her friends that she is made behind. The diary that Mary is written is sewn into what was going to be her wedding quilt and is finished by some unnamed person. This is only a brief outline otherwise the story would be totally revealed as there are many people involved along Mary's journey. I believe this book to be a good read although it is quite predictable. If you enjoy reading books about journeys into the unknown or stories of another persons life then this is the book for you. I found the book compelling and enjoyable and would recommend it to any girl of about 12 years upwards.

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