Friday, December 03, 2010

A Break with Charity

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi
Historical Fiction

Susanna English sees a group of girls meeting at the pastor's house and desperately wishes she were included. The year is 1706 and the place is Salem. Mass. Susanna lives in the Puritan colony where there is little fun and life is arduous, tedious and boring. The group of girls continues to grow but Susanna is still not included.

The pastor's slave is from the Caribbean and the girls have been listening to her stories when their parents are not around. The girls start to have 'fits' and carry on and tell the village folk it is the fault of witches. Therein starts The Salem Witch Trials.

Susanna figures out that this is all a hoax and her family is threatened if she breaks charity (tells) with the girls. Of course, anyone who has done harm to these girls or their families or is different is named as a witch. Eventually Susanna's own family is named.

I found this story to be truly interesting, especially how an action can get so out of control. I did not know about the Witch Trials and truly wonder how so many people could have been taken in. Susanna is not a particularly likable character as she is such a wimp even to the extent of causing her own family grief.

First Line: "I have come early this afternoon to sit, before anyone else arrives, in the quiet of the Salem Meetinghouse."


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