The Witch of Blackbird Pond
by Elizabeth George Speare
This young adult historical fiction novel is a well-loved favorite for many, but I somehow missed it when I was young. Kit is an orphaned girl who travels from her home in Barbados to Connecticut in 1687. She moves in with her aunt and uncle, but her strong-willed nature makes the adjustment to their Puritan way of life difficult. Her arrival brings her to New England in the midst of the Salem witch trials, when the slightest variation from normal meant you might be accused of being a witch.
Kit meets and befriends Hannah, an older woman who is outcast from the local society. She’s also being courted by the small community’s eligible bachelor and she gets to know Nat, the son of a local sailor. There is a great reference to Shakespeare's Tempest, which was awesome.
I loved this story and I badly wish I’d read this one when I was young. It’s the exact kind of book I thrived on when I was in about fourth grade. It reminds me so much of “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle,” one of my favorites at that age. It’s a wonderful blend of history and a great story.
BOTTOM LINE: A great story with pieces of history and life lessons tossed in for good measure. This one is definitely going on the shelf to be shared with others in the future.