Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In A Village Where "Witches" Roam, Words Can Be Very Dangerous ...

(Image from Indiebound)

"We must repent and repair, and tread with care, for the Devil is running amok in Massachusetts" (47).

The last thing on Earth 12-year-old Deliverance Trembley needs is more problems. She's already nursing her frail older sister, completing all the chores around the farm while her uncle's away, and doing her level best to convince the nosy citizens of Salem Village - as well as herself - that she and Remembrance haven't, in fact, been abandoned by said uncle. When rumors of witchcraft sweep through the town, it makes Deliverance shudder. Hysteria's taken over people's good senses, and there's no telling who will be accused next.

Unlike a lot of girls in the village, Deliverance knows how to read and write. When she finds a blank book in her uncle's farmhouse, she starts journaling as a way to vent all the feelings she holds inside. It becomes her solace, her haven, a place to record not only her own emotions, but also her exhiliration and fear as witch hunting fever takes over the town. Deliverance has never been tight with the accusing girls. Crossing them now means risking a hanging. But as careful as she is to watch her step, Deliverance has never been good at holding her tongue. Will her skepticism about the girls' "ability" put her own head in the noose? With her uncle gone, her older brother training with the militia, and her own sister caught up in the witch hunts, Deliverance has no one to turn to, no one to protect her. Only in her diary can she express her true thoughts - dangerous thoughts, thoughts that could get her in trouble if anyone ever read them ...

First published in 2004, I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials by Lisa Rowe Fraustino was one of the last novels published in Scholastic's popular Dear America series. Now it's among the first to be reissued. Available on September 1 with new cover art, this taut, well-told novel chronicles the strange events that transpired in Salem, Massachusetts in 1691. What began with a group of young girls accusing their neighbors of practicing witchcraft ended with over 100 people imprisoned and 20 dead. As Deliverance recounts it all in prose that grows from fascinated to incredulous to fearful, she draws the reader in, making her an eyewitness to history. It's difficult not to empathize with our heroine, whose courage makes her admirable while her impatience keeps her human. I Walk in Dread doesn't necessarily add anything new to the story of the Salem Witch Trials, but, with authentic narration, vivid historical detail, and plenty of nail-biting tension, it's a strong, gripping novel that truly brings history to life.

(Readalikes: Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill and Father of Lies by Ann Turner)

Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for mild violence and intense situations

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of I Walk in Dread from the generous folks at Scholastic. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading the Dear America series when I was in elementary school, although this one was published a bit after my time reading them. I'm glad to see they kept publishing more of them!

    Also, I’m a new follower— wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :) http://rachelbrookswrites.blogspot.com/

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