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Children's LiteratureJust when you think the subject of seventeenth-century witches has been fully mined, along comes a whole new neighborhood to explore, in Andover, Massachusetts. Opening with ten-year-old Abigail in the stocks for the sin of running a race with her cousin, this suspenseful story draws the reader into a time and place where girls' behavior was strictly curtailed and any difference from the ways of the community was deemed suspicious. When the townspeople learn there are witches in their midst, they look to the Faulkner family, where—in spite of the grandfather's status as a preacher—things are clearly wrong, with the father having spells and Abigail already labeled a sinner. An angry glance at a serving girl causes Abigail and her better-behaved older sister, Dorothy, to be accused and sent to the Salem jail already overflowing with accused witches, many of whom do not have families who can pay for their meals. Conditions in the jail are truly horrible, and vividly described. Only by confessing that someone else taught you the devil's ways, could you be freed. Abigail and Dorothy's way out is not easy, but completely believable. It seems quite reasonable that Abigail would be changed by this experience, but it is a relief that she stays true to her basic honesty and goodness. The presence of a minister—her grandfather—who speaks out against the hysteria is a solid reminder that even in the midst of the craziness, there were saner voices. Based on a true incident in the author's family, this is a fresh look at those troubling times for middle-grade readers. 2005, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Ages 10 to 14.