FIVE STARS for a captivating story!!
Kit Tyler comes from a very different place than Puritan Connecticut. She is from a land with brilliant sunshine, crashing waves, and warm sand. When her grandfather dies she has the option to stay in her island home or strike out for an unfamiliar environment living with the only family she has left. Once in this new country she is surprised by the strict lifestyle she must adhere to living with her relatives. She is used to freedom and being in control of her own actions. She never dreamed that befriending an outsider could threaten her life.
The main theme of this story that stood out to me the most, revolves around Kit finding her identity within a new world. Once carefree and somewhat spoiled, she is now thrust into a life of constant piety and hard work. The beautiful silks she once wore are replaced with wool and calico. The warm, bright sunshine is now replaced with diamond-like snowfall. She must change who she is and where she belongs.
I remember reading this book for the first time in elementary school. Don't ask me when cause I cannot tell you. All I remember is the joy I felt connecting a troubling time in American History learned from my Social Studies lessons with this free-spirited girl named Kit. I was not ignorant of the sadness and despair caused by the Witch Trials in Colonial America during my childhood. I have always looked for answers to my curiosity within the pages of books and encyclopedias. Whether this book stirred that intense need to know the hows and whys of Witch Hunting in America or I chose this book because of my need to find out more about the culture of the time, I do not recall. But I know this book stood out as a fond memory and when I saw the old battered 1980 copy in one of my local Goodwill Thrift Stores, I had to buy it.
It is truly amazing how you can see a book and suddenly remember that you have read it and you believe you enjoyed it. You may not remember exactly what the story was, who all the characters were, or how it ended. But in your memory you remember that you have held these words in your mouth before and it was delicious. As a child reading a book, you may not have noticed the great foreshadowing. The excellent pace and how the author withheld the climax to build up this long forgotten world so foreign to your own. You may remember feeling connected to the protagonist but don't know why, perhaps you too felt like you were a colorful bird among wrens and sparrows.
I can easily see why this won the Newberry Award.