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Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1)
Witch Child - Witch Child, Bk 1
Author: Celia Rees
The spellbinding diary of a teenage girl who escapes persecution as a witch--only to face new intolerance in a Puritan settlement. — Enter 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 yea...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780763618292
ISBN-10: 0763618292
Publication Date: 4/1/2002
Pages: 261
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 120 ratings
Publisher: Candlewick
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This definetly reads like a "young adult" book but it doesn't talk to the reader. It's still better then those silly series books about high school girls trying to get dates that are usually geared toward younger readers.
reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Found myself not wanting this to end and wanting to know where Mary ends up. You really find yourself feeling how oppressive it would've been to be slightly different and trying to live among the puritanical.
welshwytch avatar reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 89 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
During the witch hunts of the mid-1600s, many young Englishwomen died on the gallows, innocent victims of false or hysterical accusations of witchcraft. But what of those women who actually claimed the name "witch" as their own? In the pages of her secret journal, Mary Nuttall reveals what it is like to live in a climate of mistrust and piety in which differences are dangerous and rumors can kill, where she must hide her heritage as a healer and pagan. With a sure hand, she describes her beloved grandmother's trial and hanging as a witch, her own rescue by a mysterious noblewoman, and her eventual passage to the New World and the forest settlement of Beulah. There Mary falls under a curtain of suspicion when she willingly chooses to explore the dark woods shunned by the fearful colonists and makes friends with some of the spiritual native people. When several girls in the community begin to shriek and swoon, and the same minister who damned Mary's grandmother comes to search for signs of witchcraft, Mary is subjected to close and deadly scrutiny.
kiltedfaerie avatar reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed most of the book, but towards the end, it became bery reminiscent of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. I guess Rees figures that kids won't know Miller's works, and won't realize that she's almost plagerized another story.
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 5322 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for

Although Mary never knew her parents, she lived happily in a cabin in the woods with her grandmother and pets. However, her grandmother was a healer, a trusted member of the community until only recently. Now, she's gone, and Mary is alone in the world, on the run from the witch hunters.

A mysterious benefactor comes to Mary's aid, telling her that she must set sail for the American colonies with a tight knit community of Puritans. Even though Mary must be careful to hide her true nature from their religious zealotry, she does manage to find a few kindred spirits among their numbers, mainly Martha, who also has a healer's hand; Jonah, an apothecary; and Rebekah, the daughter of a prominent Elder.

The journey is long, and Salem may not hold all the hope they'd wished for upon their arrival. When their band rejoins the others in their community who have gone before them, Mary finds herself an untrusted newcomer, and has to guard herself carefully from those who would not "suffer a witch to live."

But how can she hide her talents when they're essential to life in this strange new land? And why does a mysterious jackrabbit appear to be following her?

This story presents itself under the pretense that the pages of Mary's diary were found hidden inside the seams of a quilt, and a note is included that welcomes anyone with further information on those folks mentioned in the diary to contact the editor. This additional layer adds an interesting flair to the story, which, although fictitious, makes history come alive.
Read All 22 Book Reviews of "Witch Child Witch Child Bk 1"

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reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on
Very good story, well written and believable of the times. I really did enjoy the book and am looking to get the sequal.
reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 59 more book reviews
In 1659. a 14 year old girl keeps a journal of her voyage from England to the new world & her experiences of living as a witch.
terez93 avatar reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 273 more book reviews
This novel definitely seemed that it was setting the scene for a sequel. Mary is an orphan, raised by her grandmother, who is killed by villagers when she's accused of witchcraft. As the relative of an executed witch, Mary is living on borrowed time, until she's taken away by a wealthy benefactor (who isn't what she seems), to be sent to the Colonies across the sea with a Puritan family. Left with little other option, Mary takes what few possessions she has and makes the perilous journey to the wilds of the New World, which become even more ominous as the group who had sailed before had departed the town of Salem for the wilderness, seeking to establish a City of God, under a tyrannical and fanatical ruler whose word is law.

Don't want to give too many spoilers here, but this was one of the better historical fiction accounts I've read about this period, probably because it spent so much effort humanizing the characters and describing in a great wealth of detail their many travails in crossing the ocean, with the ever-looming threat of death, from disease and privation as much as from the relentless and unforgiving sea. Things didn't improve much upon arrival, where the land they found was populated with with hostile natives whose land the settlers sought to occupy, wild animals, and an unforgiving environment with a climate never experienced before. No less pernicious was the pervasive internal strife, among both families and individuals, where "elites" of the town, men and women alike, both looked down upon and policed their communities with an iron rod.

We often forget the almost unimaginable hardships endured by those who traveled to an unknown shore, to live according to their own conscience and belief, misguided though it may have been in many respects, which nonetheless still provided the foundation for the world in which we inhabit today. Problematic though it often was, as also noted in the novel , when Mary is told of the losses encountered by her new-found friend, a native boy, Bluejay, whose family, and, indeed, much of his people and way of life, caused by disease introduced by the settlers, the hardships endured by the settlers paved the way for what was to come. The tale here is told in rich detail, describing the events a sojourner would have indeed encountered in leaving all they knew behind, to search for something better.

As we see, however, the Old World was not completely left behind. The settlers brought their superstitions and prejudices with them, which caused even more hardship and misery. The generation before the notorious Salem witch trials was no less fearful of spectral malevolence, which seemingly permeated every aspect of life. Even learned "healers" such as apothecaries were not wholly safe, as anything not understood by the populace at large was immediately suspect. Another aspect of the novel I appreciated was that it kept the fantastical elements to a bare minimum, focusing instead on the characters, whose experiences could indeed have been those of any number of actual persons who lived and died so many centuries ago, who carved a new life from the untamed wilderness.
reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
A fun, easy read. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Be sure to read the sequel, "Sorceress".
phydeaux avatar reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 15 more book reviews
Witch Child - the secret diary of fourteen year old Mary Newbury, begins as she flees the English witch hunts to start a new life. How long will she be accepted into a new colony? Will she need to keep running from the suspicions of closed minded and superstitious people?

I found this book engrossing from the start and found it very hard to put down. Once I did, I was quick to order it's sequel "Sorceress", another page-turner.
reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 4 more book reviews
This was so interesting, a true story, based on dairies found in an old quilt. If you like history and suspense, you will love this book.
amichai avatar reviewed Witch Child (Witch Child, Bk 1) on + 368 more book reviews
Not so much magic, per se, but a good story and well read. (young adult novel) Puritans, early America.

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