The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Dewey)

Title and author of book? The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Young adult historical fiction, Newbery winner.

What led you to pick up this book? It was one of my choices for the Newbery challenge. I actually thought I had read it and this would be a re-read, but it turns out it wasn't familiar at all.

Summarize the plot, but no spoilers! It's the late 1600s, and Kit, who is a teen from Barbados, is left without any family or money after her wealthy grandfather dies. She takes a ship to Puritan New England to live with an aunt she's never met. The way of life there is very different from what she was used to. Not only does she work hard from dawn until bedtime, but even her clothes are shockingly bright and colorful compared to the dark clothes the Puritans wear. Somehow, in spite of her status as an odd outsider, a wealthy young man in the village takes an interest in her and starts to court her. Meanwhile, one of her two girl cousins is also being courted. Kit and the other cousin, Mercy, run a school for very young children. Eventually, Kit meets an older woman, a Quaker the town is suspicious of. Eventually, there are accusations of witchcraft.

What did you like most about the book? I liked the historical aspect best, but I also liked the characters, especially Kit and Hannah, the Quaker woman.

What did you like least? I found it implausible that the wealthiest bachelor in town would set his sights on Kit when she seemed so strange to the townspeople. I also found that, like in many historical novels, there were attitudes and behavior attributed to the main characters that are more in line with how people today think and act.

Share a quote from the book:This is Hannah, the Quaker woman: "'The answer is in thy heart,' she said softly. 'Thee can always hear it if thee listens for it.'" I liked that partly because it's sensible advice, partly because it seems in character for a Quaker, and partly because Kit does listen to her heart later, and finds an answer to something that is not what she and Hannah were discussing when Hannah gave her that advice.

What did you think of the ending? It ended just as I expected it to, but a younger reader may not have found it as predictable.

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