For October, I’m revisiting an old favorite: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.
In April 1687, 16-year-old Katherine Tyler (known throughout the story as Kit Tyler) leaves her home in Barbados after her grandfather dies and a 50-year-old man tries to marry her. She goes to Wethersfield, Connecticut to live with her Aunt Rachel and Uncle Matthew in their Puritan community.
In Connecticut, there is a brief stop in Saybrook, a small town just downriver from Wethersfield, where four new passengers board the Dolphin, the ship on which Kit is traveling. As the small rowboat returns to the ship, a small girl named Prudence accidentally drops her doll in the water and begs her mother to get it back for her. Her mother, Goodwife Cruff, harshly strikes Prudence and tells her not to be foolish. Impulsively, Kit jumps into the water and retrieves the doll. She nearly freezes in the frigid water because she was used to the pleasantly warm water in Barbados, her old home. When she returns to the rowboat, she is met with astonished suspicion, as few people in Connecticut could swim so well. Goodwife Cruff is the most cynical of them all, believing Kit is a witch, saying, “No respectable woman could stay afloat like that.” But Kit knew how to swim because she lived in the islands. On the slow trip upriver, Kit befriends John Holbrook, another passenger coming to Wethersfield to study with Reverend Gershom Bulkeley. After the Dolphin reaches Wethersfield, Kit admits to the captain of the ship that neither her aunt nor uncle knows she is coming…
Confession: As much as I love to read, I have never participated in a book club, let alone led the discussion. Honestly, I’ll be satisfied thinking of you–curled up on the couch or in bed like me–reading a witch tale, and then we can talk about it if we want.
Reading a book you’ve already read is awesome for two reasons:
- It’s like seeing an old friend again.
- You realize how much life experience you’ve gained since your last read.
And if you haven’t read this one yet, join me and tell me what you think! Happy October!