This is one of those books that change you. I read it first when I was a young girl, probably around 9 or 10, and it had a profound impact on me. The impact was just as strong when I reread it this time. The story takes place in Puritan Connecticut, where our heroine, Kit, has just come to live with her relatives. But Kit was raised in Barbados by her liberal grandfather. Her taste in clothing, reading material, the way she speaks her mind, and the fact that she can swim all turns the town against her during a time when witch hunts were popular.
Kit is a fantastic character. I love how she deals with the hard choices she has to make. In our world we are no stranger to bullying, but comparing my experiences with being called a witch and other bullying I have endured with Kit’s, where the threat of being burned at the stake is quite real, my experiences seem like mere blips. Kit takes on a whole town and endeavors to open their eyes to the fact that not all that is different is frightening or bad.
I also love how unsure Kit is. She is strong, but she struggles with what to do, whether to conform to Puritan life, or to be herself. And that, for me, is that makes Kit so real, so relatable.
This story is a wonderful read, especially if you are interested in historical fiction and strong female leads. This Newberry Award winning novel deserves 5 stars.