Kit Tyler’s grandfather raised her to meet many challenges of life in the Barbados. He did not, however, prepare her for life with her aunt and Puritan uncle in a small village of New England in the seventeenth century. When she arrives there, after her grandfather’s death, Kit finds the parochial community in Connecticut puzzling. How can they think she is a witch simply because she knows how to swim? The most eligible bachelor in the village, William Ashby, pays no heed to rumors, taken as he is by her beauty. Kit doubts his love for her, and when the chips are down she realizes that help often comes from the most unlikely of places.
Elizabeth Speare weaves a story of suspense and romance in her book about colonial New England. Kit’s independent nature struggles to assert itself, but she learns to maneuver in a prejudiced society. Although spoiled, Kit grows to love her aunt’s family and to appreciate the strength of her strict, sorrowful uncle. She could easily adopt an easy and unfulfilling life with a wealthy, superficial man. However, Kit uses her understanding of human nature to discern William’s true character and does what she knows in her heart is right. Young women will be inspired by Kit’s judgment, compassion and fearless defense of the innocent.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.