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The Book of Maggie Bradstreet [Kindle Edition]

Gretchen Gibbs
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Maggie Bradstreet is a curious girl of thirteen with a mind of her own, which can get her into trouble in Puritan New England. She wants nothing more than to prove to her brother's friend Job that she is no longer a child, but when witches are discovered in their community of Andover, Massachusetts, her world turns upside down. Maggie’s diary tells of excitement turned to horror as more and more people are accused of witchcraft, and her best friend's mother is taken off to jail. She tries to save her friends and in the end must save herself.

The Book of Maggie Bradstreet, a multigenerational account that chronicles an adventure and romance that occurred during a fascinating period in US history, is a work of biographical fiction based on historical records about the author's ancestors. Like others in colonial Andover, Margaret Bradstreet witnessed firsthand the bullying, touch test trials, arrests, and sometimes death of her friends and neighbors. Readers will find the untold and remarkable story of what happened in Andover as riveting as our beloved literary classics that portray the well-known Salem witch trials.

The book includes a map and afterword with additional historical content.

Editorial Reviews


"In a world of darkness, of witches and devils and spectral evidence, our eyes catch a glint of light:  the wry and indomitable Maggie Bradstreet. As we enter her reality from the inside out, we, like Maggie, wonder if the end of the world is at hand. The novel is a young woman's story, but also the story of anyone who has ever tried to fathom the mysteries of the human heart."
- Rebecca McClanahan, author of "Word Painting" and "The Riddle Song"

"Gretchen Gibbs brings Puritan New England to life. Too gutsy for her own time, Maggie is a girl today's readers will understand. The novel is a page-turner - part mystery, part romance, part coming-of-age story.Struggling against witchcraft hysteria, Maggie is a bewitching heroine."
- Mary Makofske, author of "Traction"

"Gretchen Gibbs has written a book so tender and fresh that the voice gets inside your head. Its dark brilliance gives this debut novel the rare quality of making the heroine exist now and also in another time. Maggie Bradstreet pulls you into a very real yet incomprehensible world of spells and fear."
- Judy Pedersen, author of "When Night Time Comes Near"

From the Author

Before the era when the Internet provided help, my mother spent years traveling around and researching our family background, both hers and my father's. I thought it was pretty dull until my parents began to write up the stories about the ancestors. Here is my father's account of Dudley Bradstreet.

"Dudley Bradstreet, son of Simon and Anne, was Justice of the Peace in Andover. After granting thirty to forty warrants for witchraft, he became disgusted with the situation and refused to issue any more. He and his wife were soon after accused of killing nine persons by witchcraft. They were forced to escape from the area. His brother, John, was then accused of afflicting a dog. He also fled. The dog was executed by the townspeople!"

Now there was a story! I found support for it from other documents. It seemed to me that the dog must have had some relationship to the Bradstreet family. Since it isn't mentioned as John's dog, it would make sense if it belonged to Dudley's family, so that executing it would be a way of getting back at the Bradstreets.

Product Details

  • File Size: 354 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Glenmere Press (March 29, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,976 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and authentic December 6, 2012
The voice in this moving, beautifully written book is so authentic that it's difficult to believe it wasn't written by Maggie Bradstreet. As others have said, it's a hard book to put down. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hated to come to the end. January 23, 2013
By NancyO
My test of whether I really enjoyed a book is whether I'm sorry to come to the end. In this case, I was truly sorry to have to stop reading. I would have liked more time to spend with these people - especially the young, curious, open-minded, intelligent Maggie Bradstreet, who thoroughly won my heart. The book convincingly transported me to a very different time and place, and it was fascinating - all the more so as it was based on historical research, and these individuals actually existed. This was a very refreshing read. Deceptively simple, yet full of timeless and important human issues. Beautifully written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The protagonist and supposed writer of this imaginary diary is modern enough for us to identify with -- she is more rebellious, probably, than the historical 13-year-old Margaret Bradstreet could have gotten away with in Puritan New England -- while still reflecting the character of the times in, for example, her unquestioning belief in the existence of witches. The language is direct and easy to read, with just enough archaic sentence construction to keep the reader conscious of the time period in which the book is set. The early parts of the book describe the life of the times in some detail, enough (my retired teacher wife notes) to be useful for making history come alive in a middle-school or high-school history class. Later sections of the book become quite gripping. The conflicts between religious beliefs and social norms on the one hand, and a desire for justice and faith in one's friends on the other, lead to actions that put Maggie and her family at risk. Even though I already knew she survived (the real Margaret Bradstreet is an ancestor of the book's author), I was on edge to find out how her situation was resolved.

Because of the age of the protagonist, this book is likely to appear in the "young adult" section of libraries, but I think adults will find it equally satisfying.

Although this is an unsolicited review, I should disclose that I am a friend of the book's author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great April 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was an amazing read. I read the whole book in one day I could not stop. I have recommend this book to many people and would do so to you also.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Novel! June 23, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was totally absorbed in this novel! The writing absolutely catches the voice of a young girl trying to understand the horrible events around her, and the story itself--even for those of us who know something of the witchcraft trials--was mesmerizing. I was brought to tears at times. The characters were all beautifully developed. It's an ageless story of people believing lies and getting caught up in mass hysteria, relevant as well today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars riveting story April 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a well written historical novel set near Salem during the witch trials. Based on truth, this fiction story tells the tale of 13 year old Maggie Bradstreet, who tells her story of her life during the infamous witch trials. The story is riveting and I could not put it down. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Maggie Bradstreet April 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story was the reading of a young girl in Massachusetts in the 1600 hundreds when there was a lot stories of witchcraft. It was very interesting and gave a good description of their lifestyle. At the start I didn't think I would finish it, but am glad I did. I do enjoy stories in different periods of history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting America's Witchhunt April 5, 2014
A highly engaging book set in the period of the Salem witch trials and written from the perspective of an adolescent coming of age…in “The Book of Maggie Bradstreet” we experience the intense emotions of 13-year old Maggie — at first, excitement and curiosity, and later, the fear and terror that ultimately envelop her and the community around her in Andover, in 1692. It’s a story that weaves the mundane with the extraordinary: early in the book, while chopping vegetables with Ruth, the West Indian cook, Ruth tells Maggie about Tituba, also from the West Indies, whose special powers are perhaps at the root of the witchhunt. From that brief but curious conversation (most of us have heard of Tituba), we follow the acceleration of events as Maggie witnesses women and girls taken from their families, forced to testify against their will, and some, ultimately put to death for witchcraft. When her own family is forced to flee, we experience her terror as if it were our own. “The Book of Maggie Bradstreet” is a meaningful contribution to the literature on witchcraft in New England. On another level, the reader is left wondering about the mass hysteria and the role of the clergy and the men of law who accuse and punish individual women and girls, and ultimately, the damage done to the fabric of society. It’s hard not to note the parallels to our Congressional leaders today.
Flavia Bacarella
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars American history of the Salem witch trials
Great child's view of the hysteria involved in the Salem witch trials.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read so many books on the Salem witch ...
I have read so many books on the Salem witch trials. It's hard to believe this really happened.. This book ls well written and gives the story of that time from a young girl's... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically accurate; dry storytelling
For fans of historical fiction, this book will resonate. However, the storytelling is somewhat lackluster. This may be because of the diary format. Read more
Published 6 months ago by kaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Maggie
A wonderfull read a fascinating look into history .kept me turning the pages.lovers of historical fiction should grab this book.
Published 9 months ago by R. lomazow
4.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Maggie Bradstreet
This is a diary-style book recounting the events of the Massachusetts witch hunts through the eyes of 13 year old Maggie Bradstreet. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stephanie
5.0 out of 5 stars Salem Witch Trials
I LOVED this book. I have always been interested in the Salem Witch Trials, but it was not until recently that I realized that other towns were affected too. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kelli Kohrherr
5.0 out of 5 stars A Strong-Minded Soul
Early American Puritianism was vexed with religious intolerance, ignorance and fear. Maggie Bradstreet is a child who questions her elders and their politics. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Donna Reis
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
an excellent book, definitely keeps you captivated all the way through. What's even more remarkable, is that the characters are real and the story is based on the author's own... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Katarina Ortmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Couldn't put it down! I have not read much on the history of the Salem witch trials and this was a great introduction.
Published 10 months ago by MaryAnne Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and Illuminating
The Book of Maggie Bradstreet is a delight, and so is the young Puritan girl who lives this story. Both in its illumination of the details of life at the time, and horrifying in... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cheetah Haysom
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More About the Author

Gretchen Gibbs grew up in a small town in Massachusetts about forty miles from Andover, where her book takes place. When she discovered that her ancestors played a major role in the witch trials in Andover, she had to write the story. She created the diary of a real girl, her ancestor Maggie Bradstreet.

Gretchen is a psychologist who taught, practiced and conducted research for many years. She has published books and articles in psychology as well as short stories, memoir and poetry.

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