by Celia Rees*
Must have been tough to live during the times of witch hunts, especially if you were a real live witch. That’s the essential premise of Witch Child. It’s 1659, and Mary, a young English girl, finds herself on her own and under suspicion after her grandmother’s witch trial. Then, an ever-so-helpful soul sends Mary off to the New World with the Puritans. Talk about going from the frying pan to the fire.
Anyone who has read Arthur Miller’s The Crucible knows how this story is going to go, but for some reason I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Rees is a captivating story-teller, and she’s created a strong and smart character in Mary.
Mary is certainly no Puritan pansy, just waiting for them to come for her with the ropes and the implements of torture. She’s a survivor.
The “magic” in Witch Child is understated. Don’t expect any fantabulous displays, but the more subtle approach gave the book a more realistic feel and helped drive home its messages about intolerance and cruelty.
Now, the ending ticked me off a bit because it is so open that it made me feel like this book isn’t complete in itself. I like series, but I feel a somewhat robbed when the first one isn’t a whole story in itself. So if you let Witch Child cast its spell on you, you are going to have to read the next one too: Sorceress.