Free The Witch of Blackbird Pond BY Elizabeth George Speare

T and is eaving ittle behindKit is used to the free spirited way of iving that she has always embraced in Barbados She knows nothing of the customs that guide New England She knows nothing about how the village people regard women She does not know that women here don t know how to read do not know how to swim and most of all she does not know about witch trials and about the rules governing the andsIt isn t ong before Kit befriends two people One of them is Prudence a scared ittle child whose family thinks she is dumb and as a result she does not go to school The other is Hannah Regarded with deep suspicion and mistrust Hanna is a widow and a uaker who ives alone Nobody in the village will speak to her There is a deep certainty amongst the villagers that Hannah must be a witchSo this is a bit of what the book is about but I have not even scratched the surface It is considered a classic and I reread every few years especially when I want to go back in time and touch my childhood I cannot think of a piece of writing better in the Historical Fiction genre and if you missed it as a kid or an adult it is one that will stay with youNow I have some SPOILERSjust about the endingso if you have not read it stop hereThe ast scene is among the most romantic and satisfying I have ever read Likewise the trial and the testimony of Prudence are also written so flawlessly I often think of Kit and Nat and Mercy and Judith and John Holbrook and Aunt Rachel and Mathew and Prudence and Hanna They all stepped off the pages and became my friends Sometimes the smell of New England will bring me back to the book as will apple pie kittens boats and the sound of the ocean Please read this book My wife Barb had read this back in the 90s and mentioned to me at the time how much she iked it which had put it on my radar So ast fall when I was considering a new book to read aloud to her I selected this one guessing rightly that after the apse of 25 years or so it would be ike a new read The very short Goodreads description for this edition says it brings to ife the witch hysteria of Puritan New England That s true as far as it goes but very incomplete one plot strand depicts the witch hysteria of that day rising to an intense climax that evokes considerable drama and suspense but there s significantly to the book than that The cover blurb tends to be urid and Gothi A good witch is hard to findI should know I ve been searching for one my entire ifeSo I went into this read thinking maybe this is her the witch of blackbird pond Maybe she will finally be the tatter haired witch that Karla Kuskin decribes or the magical prognosticator chanting canting calculator that Felice Holman makes me want to meetI wasn t ooking for a Bellatrix LeStrange I just wanted the witch I ve been waiting for And I didn t find her hereNope No real witches here Just a bunch of those Arthur Miller type witches from The Crucible Meaning no delightful cleavage or cackle no orgies by the river no incantation no evitation no black tresses or ong black gownsJust a sad partially demented uaker woman who has been ostracized from the town for her religious beliefsOh and a town with a pillory a whipping post and stocks of the proper accoutrements for provoking public humiliation in the village suare in the proper accoutrements for public humiliation in the village suare in in the 17th centuryGod I hate PuritansI hate em and so does Kit our protagonist who is forced to eave wealth and the paradise that is Barbados for the bleak never ending Puritans and snowI think this is known as hell or purgatory at the very eastPoor KitAnd bleak never ending Puritans and snowI think this is known as hell or purgatory at the very eastPoor KitAnd me But once I et go of my attachment to the perfect witch I allowed this Newberry winner from 1958 and Kit Tyler to capture my attention and I found an old school appealing story and a winning protagonistThis is good clean story telling and it s a surprisingly romantic coming of age story as well And God as my witness as I finished up the story today my 9 year old daughter arrived home carrying a giant black cauldron from a thrift store I retreat to my air with magical thoughts Not anything ike my preconceived notion The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a wonderful young adult novel set in the ate 1600s in New England among the Puritans Kit Tyler has arrived on a ship from Barbados and doesn t fit in from her first moments in Connecticut when she reveals that she can swim The neighbors think she must be a witch since she can float Her relatives take her in reluctantly and Kit tried to make herself useful by working hard in this new grim environment so unlike the tropical paradise she was born in Kit comes from an affluent family whose work was done by slaves that they owned Her hardy Connecticut cousins try to make her understand how wrong this is Kit s oneliness and despair soon bring her to connect with another outcast from the Puritan s society This connection may mean Kit s death FULL REVIEW HEREShe snatched at the dream that had comforted her for so ong It was faded and thin ike a etter too often readA search of identity belonging friendship and breaking social class boundaries this book is uncharacteristically deep for young adult novels Not only is the time period historically accurate but Elizabeth George Spear incorporates easy to read yet distinct and complex accents From the uaker witch to the Barbados Kit Tyler to the Connecticut colony residents each of the many characters has a personality that can t be mistaken Don t be put off by the title There is absolutely no witchcraft involved in the book It s basically a Salem Witch Trial book that takes place in another New England coastal town WethersfieldA few major themes in The Witch of Blackbird Pond include the political issues of the 17th century religious differences from protestants and uakers how education differs from country to country What a pity every child couldn t earn to read under a willow tree Kit who earned in Barbados judgement and how it affects culture these are just a few of many elements See Didn t I say it was deep for a YA novel If you re into history you l ove the richly detailed depiction of day to day ife in 17th century America Even if you re not ike me you will still definitely enjoy this Newberry Medal winning classicWe d ove to hear your thoughts Please feel free to comment on the blog. Aker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond and on occasion her young sailor friend Nat But when Kit's friendship with the witch is discovered Kit is faced with suspicion fear and anger She herself is accused of witchcraf. E turns heads by attending Sabbath Meeting in silk the only outfit she has Kit despairs that the boring service asts practically all day but garners the attention of William Ashby a wealthy young suitor who has never seen anything ike herThe stranger in a strange and begins to find her stride when she assists Mercy in teaching the dame school for young children Helping Judith weed the onion field out by Blackbird Pond Kit inuires about a shack out there in the tranuil meadow and is told a witch ives there a uaker named Hannah Tupper When Kit improvises a esson by involving her students in playacting a Bible scene chaos erupts and her Puritan observers fire Kit She flees to the meadow for solace where she is comforted by Hannah and earns that the woman is no witch just a misunderstood widow who s persecuted in Massachusetts for her religious beliefs Kit befriends the old womanKit summons the courage to ask for her job back William has come courting Kit with John Holbrook putting in similar family time with Mercy but Kit finds her thoughts turning back to Nat who she encounters at Hannah s home delivering her goods and helping with repairs to her roof Uncle Matthew forbids Kit from visiting the uaker which Kit ignores with support from her aunt She even starts to teach her young fan Prudence how to read in secret introducing her to Hannah and turning over essons to the old woman But when a fever afflicts the youth of the village Hannah is singled out as the cause and the rebellious Kit s relationship with the woman pulls her into the witch hunt Do you deny that on a certain day in August ast on passing the pasture of Goodman Whittlesley you cast a spell upon his cattle so that they were rooted to the ground where they stood and refused to answer his call or to give any milk on that eveningGoodman Whittlesley will you repeat your complaint for this assemblyHer head reeling Kit stood helpless as one after the other they rose and made their complaints these men and women whom she scarcely recognized The evidence rolled against her ike a dark waveOne man s child had cried aloud all night that someone was sticking pins into him Another child had seen a dark creature with horns at the foot of her bed A woman who ived along South Road testified that one morning Kit had stopped and spoken to her child and that within ten minutes the child had fallen into a fit and ain ill for five days Another woman testified that one afternoon ast September she had been sitting in the window sewing a jacket for her husband when she had ooked up and seen Kit walking past her house staring up at the window in a strange manner Whereupon try as she would the sleeve would never set right in the jacket A man swore he had seen Kit and Goody Tupper dance round a fire in the meadow one moonlit night and that a great black man taller tan an Indian had suddenly appeared from nowhere and joined in the danceElizabeth George Speare does a wonderful job of not only placing the reader in a working Puritan village in the 17th century but populating her story with compelling characters and eaving the readers with a good message If it adhered a bit closer to history it s a story that had the potential for great violence and tragedy but perhaps due to its young audience everything turns out happy in the end I iked how Speare introduces close to a dozen characters assigning them roles in THE VILLAGE AND PERSONALITIES THAT DISTINGUISH village and personalities that distinguish from one another Most of the characters remain static while Uncle Matthew and Nat evolve the they come to understand and appreciate Kit The prose is poised and illustrates its setting uite effectively What a pity every child couldn understand and appreciate Kit The prose is poised and illustrates its setting uite effectively What a pity every child couldn earn to read under a willow tree Kit thought a week ater She and Prudence sat on a cool grassy carpet A pale green curtain of branches just brushed the grasses and threw a filigree of shadows as delicate as the wrought silver on the child s face This was the third esson At first Prudence had been speechless In all her short ife the child had seldom seen and certainly never held in her hands anything so ovely as the exuisite ittle silver hornbook For ong moments she had been too dazed that the tiny alphabet fastened to it were made up of the same a s and b s that she had overheard through the school doorway But now by this third meeting she was drinking in the precious etters so speedily that Kit knew she must soon find a primer as wellThere s a ot of Drama in The Witch of Blackbird Pond with the sister who oves the boy who oves the other sister and parents who just don t understand I was amused by the suggestion that teenagers were apparently running wild in the streets as far back as the first Thanksgiving Speare handles her story with class with anguage that is poised and vivid and takes her historical subject matter seriously That was my problem with the novel nothing eerie or frightening occurs Hannah Tupper is easily the most static and forgettable character in the book despite being the title character Cover art over the years hints at different types of books My favorite is Cover 4 from the first Dell printing in 1971 This promises a far out chiller and a thriller featuring a spooky witch haunting the countryside I ove the proportionality of its elements and the beguiling mood it conjures Cover 1 accurately reflects the YA novel the author wrote which despite the colonial setting and high evel of writing is in many ways a generic teen book The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a good book but not one I d recommend to get the pulse racing on Halloween What a pity every child couldn t earn to read under a willow tree Elizabeth George Speare The Witch of Blackbird PondA book from my childhood and one of the best pieces of Historical fictionone of the best BOOKSI have ever readPLEASE do not go into thisif you have not read itthinking it is only for children or young adults Do you know how many people I know who read this in adulthood So have I although my first reading of it was in my childhoodSo Kit is a newcomer to the United States She has come here from Barbados She knows nobody She knows nothing of the Puritan culture Her grandfather has died and her only family eft is her Aunt Rachel She has come in the hopes of iving with Rachel and her family as she is beref. Unity she feels ike a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world a bird that is now caged and onely The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows where she enjoys the company of the old ,

characters The Witch of Blackbird Pond

,

Buy the truth and do not sell italso wisdom and instruction and understanding Psalm 2323A wholly satisfying read and respectable ook at Puritan ife I m a 23 yr old in college guy and Who knew I d get so emotionally invested I certainly didn t There were several parts when I was egitimately frustrated angry and a ittle teary eyed to evel with you My favorite scenes were uite easily John s return home the teary eyes c mon I m just trying to give you an honest review as well as the final pages of the book Sidenote With a character named Thankful Peabody how could you possibly go wrong Sidenote sidenote Goodwife Cruff was completely and impressively unlikeable If I m ucky enough to have a daughter or two this one l most definitely have a space their bookshelf Kit Katherine Tyler is a free spirit When her grandfather dies she sells off his giant home in Barbados and sets sail to find her only remaining family in Connecticut colony She weathers a storm avoids seasickness and even manages to wrangle two entire conversations out of the blue eyed son of the ship s captainHowever the Connecticut mainland has a sharper edge than any of the challenges on board ship How can Kit bear the insidious patience reuired to drop cornmeal in a bowl one pinch at a time And the agony of spending her entire Sunday on a hard pew in church service And the spiteful tongue of her cousin Judith But there are far greater things to fear in the colonies than boredomAnd when Kit begins sneaking away to find her own happinessThe real danger begins I ove Kit And Nat the captain s son And Hannah the uaker woman who shares soft kittens and blueberry pie And Prudence the ittle girl who needs Kit almost as much as Kit needs her This is one of my favorite books Full of wonderful historical detail but also fun alive characters that you feel as though you would ove to meet I ve read The Witch of Blackbird Pond at east a dozen times maybe two dozen And now may have to read it again This book got me into historical fiction which is the genre perhaps closest to my heart The conflict between freedom and responsibility between individual and family and community ring as clear today as they did when I first read this book as a kid I really iked this book and have therefore come to the conclusion that books written for children can be higher uality writing than books written for adults because there isn t this pressure to impress with heavy metaphor and poignant statements about ife When adults write for adults there is too much pressure adults writing for children understand that it is the story and the characters that matter most and if those two are well written then I think you have a deep satisfying book My autumn witch a thon continues with The Witch of Blackbird Pond the Newberry Medal winning novel by Elizabeth George Speare Published in 1958 I gather this is reuired reading in some public schools The Bookman in Orange carries new copies while a buddy of mine named Steve Green at McClain s Coffeehouse in Fullerton caught me reading this and experienced a bad flashback to his junior high days I was enad by the finesse with which Speare propels her narrative and the historical detail she wields but the story didn t deliver on my wicked witch a thon expectations and suffers from issues common to the Young Adult genreThe drama centers on Katherine Kit Tyler a sixteen year old who arrives in the Connecticut Colony drama centers on Katherine Kit Tyler a sixteen year old who arrives in the Connecticut Colony April 1687 Born and raised on a plantation in Barbados with her grandfather Kit departs for the Colonies after his passing to ive with her Aunt Rachel Aboard the Dolphin as it docks in the village of Saybrook Kit meets two young men Nathaniel Nat Eaton son of the vessel s captain and John Holbrook a clergyman headed to the town of Wethersby upriver to study with a reverend doctor When a wooden doll belonging to a put upon child named Prudence goes overboard Kit boldly dives in to the bay to retrieve it alarming those who have never known a woman to swimKit continues to make waves by revealing to Holbrook that she can read Upon finally reaching Wethersby when the winds permit Kit reveals to the captain that she has not sent word to her aunt of her arrival and her seven trunks must be transported to town which Kit is shocked to earn is ittle than a church a suare and the scattered homes or fields of the Puritan villagers Aunt Rachel initially mistakes Kit for her dead sister but Is Welcomed Even When Kit welcomed even when Kit her aunt that she has come to ive with them Her uncle Matthew is a taciturn farmer whose word is aw and does not truck to his daughters Judith and Mercy idling the day away trying on the dresses Kit offer as presents Her uncle regarded her with scorn No one in my family has any use for such frippery he said coldly Nor are we beholden on anyone s charity for our clothingBut they are gifts cried Kit tears of hurt and anger springing to her eyes Everyone brings Be uiet girl It is time you understood one thing at the start This will be your home since you have no other but you will fit yourself to our ways and do no to interrupt the work of the household or to turn the heads of my daughters with your vanity Now you will close your trunks and allow them to get about the work they have neglected Rachel take off that ridiculous thingEven the gloves trunks and allow them to get about the work they have neglected Rachel take off that ridiculous thingEven the gloves Judith was still rebellious Everyone wears gloves to MeetingEverything No member of my household will appear in public in such unseemly apparelMercy had said no word but now as she folded the blue shawl and aid it uietly on top of the trunk Rachel found courage for her only protest Will you allow Mercy to keep the shawl she pleaded Tis not gaudy and twill keep off the draft there by the chimneyMatthew s glance moved from the shawl to his daughter s uiet eyes and barely perceptibly the grim ine of his jaw relaxed So there was one weakness in this hard manKit tries her best to fit in to the Puritan village Upon earning that her people have no servants she tries to earn her keep carding wool preparing meals or making soap Bossy Judith settles on assigning her cousin corn pudding To the sympathetic Mercy Kit reveals the reason she did not give her aunt prior notice is that her ate grandfather s debts made her vulnerable to marriage to one of his creditors The runaway brid. Orphaned Kit Tyler knows as she gazes for the first time at the cold bleak shores of Connecticut Colony that her new home will never be ike the shimmering Caribbean island she eft behind In her relatives' stern Puritan comm. ,
The Witch of Blackbird Pond