The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Elizabeth George Speare
Kit has grown up on the island of Barbados, loved and pampered by her grandfather. But after his death, Kit must leave. It's not proper for a sixteen-year-old girl to live by herself. She's heard stories about her aunt and uncle who live in the colony of Connecticut. These are the only relatives Kit knows of. So, alone and desperate, she sets sail to live with them in New England.
When she arrives, Kit is shocked by the gray, damp landscape, but even more stunned by the Puritanical lifestyle of her uncle's household. Fitting in is not easy - until she meets Hannah Tupper, an older woman who lives alone and is the only person who lets Kit be herself.
But the colonists believe Hannah is a witch. If they discover Kit is her friend, they will think the same of her. Kit must choose: should she abandon her only friend, or stand by her and risk losing everything?
Kit's Uncle Matthew is a strict man, and he expects her to work hard if she is to be part of his household. Kit is willing to work, though she is unused to manual labor and unskilled at the many tasks she is given to do. Nevertheless, Kit struggles to fit in and soon finds herself hired to help Mercy teach school. She also attracts the attention of William Ashby, a wealthy young man who begins courting Kit. Then Kit discovers the Meadows, the great level sea of green grasses that remind her of her home in Barbados. The Meadows become Kit's peaceful refuge from the seemingly endless struggle to adapt to the Puritan way of life. Kit also finds refuge at the home of Hannah Tupper, a kindly old woman living near Blackbird Pond on the edge of the Meadows. Hannah is a Quaker, considered by many of the townspeople to be a heretic, and who some suspect of being a witch. Though she is forbidden from visiting Hannah, Kit cannot stay away. She finds that she needs Hannah's comforting friendship just as much as Hannah, living alone in a tiny ramshackle house, needs her help. Hoping to keep her relationship with the old woman a secret, Kit continues to work at being a contributing part of the family and community. When an illness sweeps through the community, the townspeople blame Hannah for bringing disease and death to their town. Risking everything to save Hannah from a violent mob, Kit's relationship with the old woman is revealed, and Kit finds herself standing trial before the community on the charge of witchcraft.