Published in: 2000
Age Range: Young Teens
Period: 17th C
Mary's grandmother is burnt as a witch in the mid 17th century. Mary travels with a shipload of Puritans to the New World, discovering along the way prejudice and a certain talent of her own for witchcraft.
Nothing surprising here — would-be witchcraft meets religious rigidity meets prejudice and fear meets feisty teenage girl meets young man ends up sewing her journal into a quilt to be found years later. The message seems to be: witches are good women who are hunted down by self-serving and sadistic witch-finders. Don't bother. Goodness knows why books like this are “shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2001”. Mary has some sort of vision of someone else's future and is implictly accepted as a witch by other women with similar experiences. The group and its leaders are unbending Protestant Christians. One of the girls becomes pregnant by her boyfriend. Several of the girls practise some sort of witchcraft ceremony and first feign then really succumb to madness.
Jack jumped to, leaving me alone, and I was glad, for I had much to think about. The visions came to me unbidden, just as they did to my grandmother, but the gift does not come from her. It comes from my mother. This is art of a different order, beyond my grandmother's power. I felt it settle about my shoulders like a weighty mantle.
Tuesday 1st January 2002