Witch Child by Celia Rees is a historical fiction young adult novel that follows Mary Newbury who escapes a witch trial in England and travels with a group of puritans to the new world. However, it becomes clear when they arrive in Massachusetts that Mary must be careful as she is an outsider who could easily be tried as a witch and she might just be one.
Witch Child is written as a diary so we see Mary’s story unfold through her own eyes. She believes herself to be a witch but that thought and any of her actions through out the story could easily get her in major trouble. Rees makes the story very realistic for the time period both in the use of puritan values and beliefs as well as information about the Native American’s that Mary interacts with. Mary unlike the rest of the community sees a kinship with the Native’s as they are both outsiders that the puritan community would attempt to get rid of. The tribe used in the story is the Pennacook nation which was a real Native American tribe in the Massachusetts area when white settlers arrived in the new world.
Witch Child is a reread for me as I read the book initially when I was a teenager. I didn’t love it as much as I remember because I’m older now. Sometimes I like to go back and read the books published when I first started reading Teen or Young Adult books as the Young Adult book market is much different now. I remember when bookstores called it the teen section and YA really wasn’t a big thing. Now days it feels like YA is written for an older audience than it used to be which makes Witch Child feel more like a middle grade but I still like the book.