Kirkus Book Review

Review posted online on Kirkus website June 13, 2012

Author: Weyn, Suzanne

Review Issue Date: July 1, 2012
Online Publish Date: June 13, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 240
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.99
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-545-33486-0
Category: Fiction


Weyn once again uses the supernatural to invent an alternate version of history (Distant Waves, 2009), this time the Salem Witch Trials.

A clairvoyant like her grandmother and great-grandmother, who were persecuted as witches, Elsabeth hopes to use her power to live independently one day. Wanting his daughter to avoid her ancestors’ fate, Elsabeth’s scientist father tries to relocate the family, including Elsabeth’s former governess, Bronwyn, who practices astral projection, from England to the American colonies. A shipwreck changes their course, sending lone Elsabeth to a South Carolina plantation. Uneducated in racial boundaries, the teen immediately falls for slave Aakif. In a business exchange (and to remove her from the impropriety), the plantation owner sends her to Salem to be a servant to Reverend Parris. On the way to Salem , Elsabeth reunites with Bronwyn, whose spirit has been compromised during one of her astral travels. In the process of trying to heal Bronwyn, the teen inadvertently unleashes evil on the town. Weyn sticks with the familiar characters and events, letting supernatural occurrences and recent medical theories explain the rise of witches. She also introduces other debatable facts, such as Tituba’s ethnic background, and the burgeoning science of the day. A historical note that would help readers sort out facts and theories from fiction is sadly lacking.

Despite a too-tidy ending, it is an interesting, fast-paced blend of mystical and scientific reasoning. (Historical fantasy. 13 & up)