A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials

A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials

4.1 104
by Ann Rinaldi
     
 

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Susanna English desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage, but she doesn’t realize the leader of the group, the malicious Ann Putnam, is about to set off a torrent of false accusations that will lead to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people-victims of a witch-hunt panic.

“The

Overview

Susanna English desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage, but she doesn’t realize the leader of the group, the malicious Ann Putnam, is about to set off a torrent of false accusations that will lead to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people-victims of a witch-hunt panic.

“The author’s skillful manipulation of the conventions of the young-adult novel-particularly the rich exploration of being an outsider and going against the mainstream-makes this book a superb vehicle for examining the social dynamics of this legendary event.”—The Horn Book

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Historical fiction readers, both adult and young adult, will be fascinated by this tale of the Salem Witch Trials. Rinaldi has an uncanny talent for slipping into the skin of her characters. In this novel, her viewpoint comes from Susanna English, the daughter of a rich merchant. Susanna's money and station place her outside the circle of girls at the center of the hysteria, but not outside their sphere of influence. Susanna knows that the accusations are being put forth by young adolescents driven by revenge-and by a wish to escape the boredom of church and Bible reading. Fearing for her family, she refuses to share this knowledge. As the fervor builds, so does Susanna's guilt and sorrow until finally she is rescued from "going down a dark road" by a loving friend and her own moral code. Rinaldi's research is flawless and her period familiarity striking, but her strongest power is as a storyteller.
Ilene Cooper
Based on historical accounts of the Salem witch trials, Rinaldi's story has a twist--its heroine, Susanna, is a girl who knows that the witches' accusers are lying but is afraid to come forth. Susanna English actually lived in Salem at the time, but Rinaldi discloses in her afterword that Susanna's role in the "witchcraft business" is unknown. Here, Susanna is a key player who wants to join the circle of girls listening to the stories of the slave, Tituba, but because Susanna is of the gentry, the others don't want her around. Led by Ann Putnam, the girls in the circle begin naming witches in the community. Ann confesses to Susanna that their accusations are lies but threatens Susanna and her family, so the girl keeps silent. As witches are jailed and hanged, Susanna knows that she should come forward, but she must conquer her own fears and superstitions before she has the courage to disclose what she knows. So many citizens are mentioned that the story becomes very crowded at times, but the major characters are well drawn and hold attention. Readers wishing to know just how much of the story is true will find all their questions answered in the author's discussion of how she did her research and based her fictional elements on what she had learned. By focusing on someone who was neither a member of the circle nor one of the accused, Rinaldi offers fresh perspective on an ever-fascinating episode in American history.
From the Publisher
"An enthralling, authentic story . . . Rinaldi at her best."—Kirkus Reviews
"A graceful blend of fiction and history . . . Finely tuned, well researched and very accessible, this novel ranks with Rinaldi's finest work."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547351551
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/29/1994
Series:
Great Episodes Series
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
134,918
Lexile:
730L (what's this?)
File size:
623 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey. Visit her online at www.annrinaldi.com.

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Break with Charity 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
Stefie1980 More than 1 year ago
If you love historical fiction about the Salem Witch Trials, then this is the book for you. Although it is written for children 10 to 14 years of age (yes, I am almost 30), I still found it very interesting. I even learned some things. The author did a great job bringing the characters to life. I also enjoyed the Authors note at the end of the novel (which I dont usually read). She included some great facts and explained which characters were real and who was fictional. I read the book in 1 day!! I plan on reading more by this author!! 2 thumbs up!!
hockey22 More than 1 year ago
Awesome book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love all of Ann Rinaldi's books but this one was the best. It is very historically accurate and kept me interested the whole time. I read it in a day it was so good! I will definitely keep reading historical fiction books by Ann Rinaldi and would recommend them to anyone even if they don't like historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can not belive that susana went to ticuba for help about william its so sweet to think that some siblings get along but alo when betty parris was talking in chapter 5 she sounded pusesd like a ghost or something i mean get this girl so advil or something call 911 shes crazy!!!!!!!!!!!! No just kiding he is just really sick like your dieing sick but other than that weard/scary pary its a real good book -read this book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Ann Rinaldi has created a masterpiece! This book is not only very informational, but also has a great deal of romance and suspense. If you can't handle slight tragedy/violence, then this isn't a great choice for you. I, however, like horror stories as well as drama, comedy, etc... so the touch of scariness was great. If you are anything like I am and like most genres of book, this will be great for you. And I can guarentee a five star rating for everyone.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is amazing. It might be a bit frightening in some parts but you get over it pretty quickly. I had to read this for school (well I did not have to but I chose to) I think this book is for fifth or sixth graders. I have not finished it yet but I probably will today because it is so good!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a wonderful source for life in the salem witch time. I think this is a great book when you need to read historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to purchase this book for school and it is a perfect resource for information in the Salem Witch Trials. This is a captivating, spine-chilling novel that everyoe should read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice, easy read. A touch of fiction to get you to see this story from a different perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so suspenceful. I loved it because i like reading historical fiction and the salem witch trials. I really liked this novel.
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