Another delightful entry for the Shelf Discovery summer reading project. Kit Tyler, raised on the island of Barbados, becomes an orphan and ships herself off to Connecticut to find the only relatives she has left. This is in the pre-Revolutionary War era, and Connecticut turns out to be a far cry from the life she left behind in Barbados. It is also, unfortunately, an era of witchcraft accusations and trials.I went through a period of fascination with the early witch trials when I was in my teens, re-read The Crucible over and over, etc., so it's no surprise this was an early favorite. But it's still a pleasure to read again years later, even when that particular fascination has faded.
Girl Detective, as the host of this project, wrote about this book yesterday, and I don't have a lot to add. As she notes, there were some conventional and predictable plot points, but overall, it's so well done that I don't care. And it's a bit more sophisticated than I realized, especially in terms of characterization. Elizabeth George Speare took great care in developing some of her characters, especially Kit herself and her uncle Matthew, who seems to be an awful Puritanical type, but as we get to know him, we realize (as does Kit) the stressors and disappointments that make him the way that he is.
Speare does an excellent good job of creating Kit's culture shock:
"She didn't want to admit how disappointing she found this first glimpse of America. The bleak line of shore surrounding the gray harbor was a disheartening contrast to the shimmering green and white that fringed the turquoise bay of Barbados which was her home. The earthen wall of the fortification that faced the river was bare and ugly, and the houses beyond were no more than plain wooden boxes."
I wouldn't be too excited about leaving Barbados for that either.
Definitely happy I had the chance to revisit this book, and it's definitely a keeper.