Nostalgia Reads

Nostalgia Reads: The Witch of Blackbird Pond

nos·tal·gia [no-stal-juh] – noun:
A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

I’ll be honest, I have a lot of favorite books (what bibliophile doesn’t!?) and The Witch of Blackbird Pond is one of them. This is another example of a book I enjoyed when I read it in middle school, high school, college, and now, as an dare I say it? adult.

Blurb from Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

For a book that was published in 1958 (and sold, hardcover, for $3.25!!!), it captivates me the same way modern middle-grade fiction does, and I can’t always say that about older books (ie: some classics). My aunt gave me her copy, which was given to her by another family member, and I remember first being excited that it had the old book smell. I also loved the old library plastic that covered the book jacket – I loved to hear that crinkle. Basically, this book was physically appealing. Then I actually read it and loved it – I’ve always been into the supernatural, but this book isn’t a traditional spooky witch story. It deals with the more realistic approach to witchcraft that many faced in the 1600s. But it’s not a violent or scary book; it’s appropriate for younger readers (Amazon says 9-12, but I’d say it’s relevant to teenagers as well).

Kit is a straightforward and honest character. She’s taken in by distant family and has a hard time adjusting to her new life, but she gives it her best shot, all while trying to remain true to who she is. She doesn’t always win her battles, but I think her character developed nicely; She was willing to compromise or make a sacrifice even if she didn’t want to, and I think she sets a good example. Also, this book made me want to visit Barbados, where Kit was from. It’s always a pleasure to re-read this book and I love my edition of the cover too – so far it’s the prettiest I’ve seen.

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