Holy Toledo! It's the SIXTH meeting of The Book Review Club!
Without going all emo and touchy/feely, I'd like to say a million heartfelt thank yous to the reviewers. I've gotten to know most of you better through your reviews and emails and blog comments. Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedules to blog about books. To give us your insights and opinions. To share a little of your reading life with us. I would like nothing better than if we could actually get together in real life.
And a huge thank you, also, to all our visitors. We're getting a very nice turnout each month. It's wonderful to have this opportunity to write about what we're reading. And to know readers out there in the blogosphere are interested.
Ahem, ahem. On to the book review...
There are some periods in history that just grab me. The Holocaust is one. The Salem witch trials is another. If a book, particularly a Young Adult, takes place during one of these time periods, I'm likely to read it.
So, when Celia Rees' debut young adult novel, WITCH CHILD, was published in 2000 (it was re-released last month!), I knew I'd pick it up. What I didn't know was how very much I'd enjoy it or how very often I'd end up recommending it.
Before the story begins, there is this note:
The following manuscript comes from a remarkable collection of documents termed "the Mary papers." Found hidden inside a newly discovered and extremely rare quilt from the colonial period, the papers seem to take the form of an irregularly kept journal or diary. All dates are guesswork, based on references within the text. The first entries are tentatively dated from March 1659. I have altered the original as little as possible, but punctuation, paragraphing, and spellings have been standardized for the modern reader.~~Alison Ellman, Boston, MA
What a brilliant set-up. And from here we go on to learn the story of fourteen-year-old Mary Newman. In England, Mary witnessed the torture and hanging of her grandmother as witch. During the hanging, Mary is whisked away for safety reasons and finds herself bound for Salem in the New World. Now orphaned and forced to keep her past and her supernatural powers secret, Mary attempts to make her way in a Puritan society where even a whisper of the word witchcraft can prove deadly.
The first person point of view and the diary format made this an intimate read. The suspicious society, fainting girls, and the minister who damned Mary's grandmother all work together to make this a tense read. The historical descriptions and careful language make this a rich read.
There is a sequel--SORCERESS. It was enjoyable, as well.
All in all, I'd recommend this book without hesitation.
Please, please visit the reviewers below. You won't be disapopinted. You can see that there's quite a variety of books!
YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Sarah Laurence: EVOLUTION, ME & OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE by Robin Brande
Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowry
Thao of serene hours: ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen
ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro (literary fiction with a dash of SF&F)
Scott Parker of SF Safari: THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch (sci fi)
From the Desk of Bee Drunken: LOVE IN IDLENESS by Amanda Craig
Patti Abbott: BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett
Jenn Jilks @ My Refections: MURDER IN A GOOD CAUSE by Medora Sale (mystery)
Beth Yarnall: DIE FOR YOU by Lisa Unger (mystery/suspense)
NON-FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Jody Feldman: THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE ILLUSTRATED by Strunk & White and Maira Kalman (illustrator)
Kaye of the Book Review Forum: LEFT TO TELL, DISCOVERING GOD AMIDST THE RWANDAN HOLOCAUST by Immaculee Llibagiza with Steve Erwin
Prairie Rose's Garden: THE GARDEN OF INVENTION by Jane Smith (biography of Luther