Time of the Witches

Time of the Witches

3.9 17
by Anna Myers
     
 

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An orphan named Drucilla has finally has a place to call home with the Putnam family in Salem. Although her adopted mother is strange--haunted by a troubled past--Dru feels drawn to her as the mother she never had. When a new reverend and his family move into town with their servant Tituba, life takes a strange turn as young girls begin to fall ill and accusations

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Overview

An orphan named Drucilla has finally has a place to call home with the Putnam family in Salem. Although her adopted mother is strange--haunted by a troubled past--Dru feels drawn to her as the mother she never had. When a new reverend and his family move into town with their servant Tituba, life takes a strange turn as young girls begin to fall ill and accusations of witchcraft begin to swirl. Reluctant to turn her back on the Putnams or her peers and overwhelmed by the power of groupthink among the other girls in town, Dru becomes one of the accusers herself. But when her best friend Gabe is accused, she must find a way to end the hysteria, or risk losing him forever.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Waldrop
Drucilla and Gabe were born on the same day and have shared everything since. When Drucilla's mother died in childbirth, Gabe's family took her in. When Gabe's parents died, they became orphans together and moved from one foster family to another. However, when they turned twelve, they are separated and sent to live with different families in Salem Village. Drucilla is taken in by Mistress Putnam and her husband to be a companion for their daughter, Ann Putnam. Gabe is taken in by Mary Putnam and her son, Joseph Putnam. Drucilla and Gabe think that because they have been taken in by kinsmen, they will be able to see each other often, but they soon learn than the two families are estranged. Despite the feud between their households, Drucilla and Gabe stay close and manage to see each other often. Drucilla is happy taking care of the younger children of Mistress Putnam and Gabe is looking forward to a chance to attend college. This all changes when Reverend Parris arrives in Salem with his servant, Tituba. Several young girls, Ann and Drucilla included, begin visiting Tituba often to hear stories of magic. At first it is innocent fun, but when the girls choose to accuse Tituba of witchcraft rather than face punishment for their activities, witch fever begins to divide the town of Salem and drives a wedge between Gabe and Drucilla. In the ensuing madness, Drucilla must fight to discover the truth about the witches, rectify the wrongs she has helped perpetrate, and win back Gabe's trust and friendship before any more men and women are executed. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Myers brings a time of mass hysteria to life. Drucilla and her best friend, Gabe, are both orphans, raised by villagers. When they are 12, they take positions as servants. Widow Mary Putnam offers Gabe a home, and Drucilla is thrilled when the woman's stepson offers her a position, but she soon realizes that a feud between the two households will keep her and Gabe apart. Thomas's wife Ann is outwardly beautiful and charming, and Drucilla thinks that rumors of her maliciousness are unfounded. But the longer she is in the household, the more Ann's disturbed personality emerges. Her daughter, nine-year-old Ann, shows her own signs of devious behavior. When a new reverend and his family move into the parsonage, young Ann and her friends encourage his slave, Tituba, to entertain them with stories of witchcraft and to tell their fortunes. Fearing punishment if the adults discover this ungodly pastime, the girls pretend that Tituba has bewitched them. Gabe, not realizing that Ann Putnam has threatened Drucilla if she changes her story, sees his friend's testimony as evidence that she sides with the unscrupulous family. As does Ann Rinaldi in A Break with Charity (Houghton, 2003), Myers draws heavily from the actual participants in the events. The fictional Drucilla is an engaging protagonist, and her fear of being falsely accused if she speaks out is believable. A solid piece of historical fiction.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Myers overlays a melancholy love story on top of the Salem Witch Trials. Drucilla and Gabe, unrelated orphans raised as siblings, have been separated for the first time in their lives. Gabe is taken in as servant to Joseph Putnam, while Drucilla goes to the home of Joseph's enemy and kinsman, Thomas Putnam. Mistress Putnam seems affectionate to Drucilla, asking to be called "mother." Nevertheless, Drucilla senses something is wrong, as her mood swings lead to frequent accusations of evil against servants, the minister and other villagers. Dragged along with the machinations of Mistress Putnam and her daughter Ann, Drucilla soon finds herself smack in the middle of the hysterical accusations of the trials. It's easier for Drucilla to go along with the accusations than to fight them, despite her own terribly contemporary outlook which recognizes "the power of suggestion," mob mentality and guilt-induced hysteria. Try Donna Jo Napoli's Breath (2003) for a far less anachronistic view of hysteria and witchcraft; Drucilla and Gabe are too modern for this tale. Nevertheless, it's a moodily readable take on a story that continues to fascinate. (Historical fiction. 11-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802798206
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
09/15/2009
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
719,052
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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