Myers, Anna. Time of the Witches. Walker & Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0802798206. $16.99. 197 p.
Reviewer: Tessa McMillan
Reading Level: Intermediate, Young adult
Genre: Historical fiction; Occult fiction;
Subject: Witchcraft --Juvenile fiction; Trials (Witchcraft) --Juvenile fiction; Salem (Mass.) --History --Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 --Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
Drucilla Overbey and Gabe Matson have been together since their birth but now live in separate homes. Drucilla moves to the Putnam house. Once there, she soon notices Mistress Ann Putnam's obsession over her past miscarriages. Ann swears her babies were murdered by someone in the Salem community. Ann's obsession is renewed when a new minister moves next door and brings along a Barbados slave woman called Tituba. Soon, she and many of the local girls gather at the Parris home, while the minister is away, to harmlessly participate in Tituba's "black arts" of fortune telling. But the youngest Parris child cannot handle lying to her parents about the gatherings. A strange stupor comes over her and other girls act odd to cover their interaction with Tituba. Their antics, encouraged by Ann Putnam, go overboard by singling out innocent women and men, in the community, as witches. Gabe is horrified by Drucilla's actions and rejects her. Because of his hatred for Ann Putnam, Gabe is accused of being a witch. To save Gabe, Drucilla makes a plan to end the witch hunts by accusing the governor's wife and a famous minister's mother of being witches. In the end, the trials stop, Gabe is saved, their friendship is rekindled, and Drucilla is given a chance to start life anew.
Myers work is based on the actual Salem witch hunts and trials in 1692. From her research, Myers believes that ,through group suggestion, these girls actually believed they were possessed, and took it too far. The book is a very suspenseful and enlightening read. Time of the Witches can be a great classroom resource in studying the Salem witch trials.
Volume 30 no.2 (November/December 2009)
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