The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
After the passing of her grandfather, Katherine “Kit” Tyler sails away from her home of Barbados to Connecticut where her aunt, Rachel Wood and only remaining family member, resides. Kit’s comfortable upbringing in the sunny Barbados makes her an instant outsider in the small community of Wethersfield as well as in the Wood household. However, Kit finds solace and friendship with an elderly woman by the name of Hannah Tupper, a Quaker. Unfortunately, due to the the community’s intolerance, Hannah is viewed as a witch and soon Kit’s new friendship endangers those she loves dearly as well as her own life.
As a whole I found this to be a cute story that provided insight into the Puritan way of life. However, it did take over half of the book to build up to the climax of the story. While the build up was enjoyable it was always in the back of my head that we had yet to hit the plot of the story and once it was revealed the story wrapped up rather quickly. Perhaps I simply did not want this story to end, but I would have liked to have had a scene where Kit visited Hannah when she was residing with Nat’s Grandmother in Saybrook and maybe even the marriages of Kit’s cousin, Judith Wood and Mercy Wood as well as Kit herself. Another aspect I enjoyed was the historical story line intertwined within this work of fiction. Kit arrives in Wethersfield when there is debate a over giving the Connecticut Royal Charter of 1662 back to King James II which had been given to the settlers of Connecticut by James’ father and the former king, King Charles. The charter had granted the settlers autonomy in 1662. However, King James II wished to revoke this autonomy and appointed Sir Edmond Andros as Govenor-General of the colonies. Andros argued his appointment overrode the charters and went to each of the colonies to collect them. However, many of the residents of Connecticut did not agree. As not to spoil too much of the story, I will end it there. Also, while most of the characters are fictitious, Andros and a few others in the author’s story were real people involved at the time. If you are interested in this bit of history you may Google “Charter Oak” for more information. According to the author, Elizabeth George Speare, Charter Oak is a well known tale by all Connecticut children.
I enjoyed this children’s book. It was a nice change from many of the classics I have been reading lately. While the book was rushed at the end, I found myself wrapped up in the lives of Kit and the Wood family. I think it is a great palette cleanser if anyone is looking to shake things up in their reading list.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Share your comments down below!
Until next post,