Witch Child by Celia Rees
(Witch Child #1)
Genres: Historical, Drama, Fantasy, Young Adult.
Welcome to the world of young Mary Newbury, a world where simply being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her diary, Mary’s startling story begins in 1659, the year her beloved grandmother is hanged in the public square as a witch. Mary narrowly escapes a similar fate, only to face intolerance and new danger among the Puritans in the New World. How long can she hide her true identity? Will she ever find a place where her healing powers will not be feared?
Book Review: ‘Witch Child’ by Celia Rees ~ 4 stars!
An exciting and gripping read, ‘Witch Child’ takes us back into the dangerous and unnerving world of the Witch Hunts, where fear of witches became a mania that spread worldwide. The story and world that Celia Rees created was so incredibly real, which made it a tough and emotional read.
Mary’s story is written in the form of a diary, which as well as being an excellent tool for allowing details of the characters surroundings and actions to be given without detracting from the storyline’s plot, also gave us an interesting insight into the mind of a young girl who as well as losing her only family, is thrown into a community very different to her own as she is shipped to America to protect herself from the English Witch hangings that took her Grandmother from her.
The Puritan storyline was fascinating and gave a clear understanding to the reader the strong and rigid beliefs and rules that are upheld in this community. Rees masterfully weaved together a feeling of distrust and reverence towards the Puritan elders who, like Mary, are desperate to make a better life for themselves, yet whose rigid ways of life and strong influence over all others in the community, gives them a power that we know can become evil. Mary’s fearful relationship with this community is cleverly contrasted with Mary’s relationship with a Native American Shamanistic people.
Whilst being a wonderful read, I did feel it lagged a little in some areas, with the trip by Sea to America dragging on too long and with some details that whilst were interesting, didn’t serve any greater purpose to the plot. Many questions were also left unanswered, which although may be addressed in Witch Child’s sequel ‘Sorceress’, could have been included in this book to give a clearer understanding to certain aspects of Mary’s childhood and family.
Overall a great read. 4 stars!