From Publishers Weekly
This lackluster offering is the first installment of the Wild Rose Inn series, which promises to chronicle the romantic adventures of six generations of young MacKenzie women. The first of these girls is Bridie, 16, who leaves her barren but beloved Scotland to join her parents in Marblehead, Mass., where they have spent 10 years working hard to establish an inn. Since the year is 1695 and Bridie's new home is not far from witchy Salem, it is inevitable that witchcraft becomes the historical element that drives the plot, but it does so in fits and starts. Besides being a devout Catholic, Bridie is an herbal healer; both these traits are looked on with suspicion and dislike by her new Puritan neighbors. Bridie's wooden flirtation with Will of God Handy earns her the hatred of his bitter, witch-fearing mother. Hokey, unconvincing dialogue and paper-thin characters do little to hasten the course of this ponderous story. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6-9. Left behind when her parents emigrated from Scotland to the Massachusetts Colony, Bridie MacKenzie lived with her grandfather for 10 years until he died. Now, at 16, she crosses the Atlantic in steerage and joins her parents and younger brother in Marblehead. Her family is prospering as the proprietors of a tavern, but Bridie soon realizes that she must suppress all signs of her Catholic religion and the healing arts she learned in Scotland in order to conform to the Puritan laws and mores. When she attracts the notice of handsome Will Handy, she earns the enmity of his jealous mother, and when Bridie goes to the Indians for plant remedies for her desperately ill brother, she is suspected of being a witch, and the townspeople no longer patronize her parents' tavern. Finally, Bridie makes the decision to leave the family she only recently found and travel to Canada, where she can practice the religion and medicine that are so important to her. This is a promising beginning to a series of historical novels that can be read for diversion or as an adjunct to an American history unit. Sheilamae O'Hara