Customer Reviews: A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials
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on November 11, 1997
I am a 13 year old who read this book because I was very interested in the Salem Witch Trials. I am a very picky reader and I consider it one of the best books I have ever read. It had a lot of educational information about the trials but at the same time it was not at all boring. At no point in this book did I feel that it was dragging on. This book I could not put down and spent an entire day reading it. I encourage this book to all young adults. Ann Rinaldi is an excellent author and has a real talent for writing!
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on October 24, 2004
I consider "A Break with Charity" to be Ann Rinaldi at her best. She provides an insider's depiction of the Witch Trials using the perspective of a fourteen year old living in Salem, MA. The facts and characters are well-researched. Although the main character, Susanna English, is fictitious, she is a believable and sympathetic character. I heard alot about the witch trials as I grew up outside of Boston and was surprised to learn so much from Rinaldi's attentive detail. This book is intended for young adults and I, as a not so young adult, thoroughly enjoyed every is a page turner that evokes many emotions.
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HALL OF FAMEon May 2, 2008
Salem, Massachusetts, 1692. This was a terrible time for the families of those who were executed at the Salem Witch trials. If only one of them, one who had a family member in peril, even if done in private, had the power to prevent further tragedies...

And that is what Susanna English does, or at least according to Ann Rinaldi's fascinating retelling of this historical occurrence. Her brother William is lost at sea, and she wants news about his return from any source. And that is what brings her to Tituba, a slave at Mr. Parris's parsonage. It has been rumored that Tituba deals with the black arts and is a fortune teller, and even though visiting with such person is a sin, Susanna is so desperate to hear about her brother that she throws propriety aside and pays her a visit. Little had she known the chains of events that would occur afterwards. She witnesses the members of the circle, including Ann Putnam, the youngest and most mean-spirited of them all, attending the parsonage while the reverend is gone. She knows all of the things that would make the girls' stories and accusations seem inconsistent, and yet she keeps quiet, for Ann Putnam has threatened to accuse her family of witchcraft if she says a word. But when her mother and father are taken anyway, it is time to take action...

Rinaldi's version of the events is well written, well researched and well crafted -- except for the part about Susanna staying behind when her family flees to New York and she stays with Joseph Putnam. I find it hard to believe that her parents would simply leave her behind, even if it is with people they trust. I know this plot turn is necessary for the story, but still. Other than that, I very much enjoyed this insightful and wonderful historical novel. The Salem Witch trials have always fascinated me, and I have always wanted to read a fictional account on life as a Puritan. Were those people happy with the rules placed upon them? Rinaldi does a wonderful job giving her take on the subject. Historical novels, good and accurate ones, set in the middle to late seventeenth century America are few and far in between. I am so glad I found one by an author who knows her American history quite well.
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on March 22, 2002
The story is about a little girl named Susanna English who witnesses a circle of girls who are chanting what they want out of life, and acting like witches. A few days after she notices this because, the same girls cry out on people of the town of Salem. They accuse many of being witches and saying their spirits come and taunts them at night. This goes on for about two years, until Susanna comes forth and tells the people of Salem the truth about the girls. Over all, this book was not that bad. If you are looking for a fast read and something easy to understand, then this is your book. This is the first book I have read by Ann Rinaldi, and I hope it is not my last.
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on August 13, 1999
Ann Rinaldi has a bad habit of making Christians the villians. Supprisingly enough, her book is well ballanced,fabulously written, extreemly realistic, and over-all superb!! Although an avid Rinaldi fan, I was somewhat wary of this book because of the slant on most books concerning the Salem Witch trials. They make the Puritans out to be blood thirsty pompous fools instead of being, (for the most part,) good people trying to discern what was the truth and what was not. Ann Rinaldi avoided this slant remarkably!! Thank you Ms.Rinadi for an historically accurate book!! You have ANOTHER teenage fan!!
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on July 19, 2000
In my opinion this book makes you feel as if you are really there while all these trials are going on. Ann Rinaldi made me actually enjoy reading about history. Now I realise how difficult it was to live back then, how anything you do could make people suspect you as a witch. When reading this book I felt how most people did about the way people were dying and been noticed as a witch. I feel that the actions of the girls were just to protect them selves. Another book I suggest reading is A Wolf By Ears because you get the same feeling of devestation.
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on March 20, 2016
The story itself is quite good though. It's a teen book so it's an easy read, before bed or while relaxing. I recommend the book, just not buying it from Toyburg.

Toyburg is not very good at describing their products. I ordered the book "used - acceptable" but it's really not. If they mean acceptable as in all the pages are there, then that's true. The description said "it is possible there is wear and heavy highlighting/writing" Possible? That was quite the understatement. The pages are so scribbled on and there is so much writing all over the pages, I can barely read the book. I don't think the book was fit for sale but it was cheap so I suppose that's my fault. But they should have clearly stated how used the copy was. Although no one would have bought it so I see why they used general "possible" and "maybe" vocabulary.
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on March 26, 2001
This is definetely one of the best books I have ever read. If you like reading historical fiction you will love this. The book is about a girl living in Salem during the Salem witch trials. She learns that the girls in the circle are lying. She wants to tell that they are lying but is being blackmailed. This is an awesome book.
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on February 23, 2006
Superstition. Boredom. Neighbor and family feuds. A circle of restless girls, trying to break free. Accusations. Hangings. The fine line between life and death, superstition and reality is tested in A Break with Charity by: Ann Rinaldi.

The year is 1692. The Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts is beginning to

unravel. Susannah English, now a grown woman in 1706, draws you into her teenager memories, describing her role in the Salem Witch Trials.

Having grown up in the house of a wealthy merchant (her father) a loving mother, sister (Mary English), and world-traveling brother (William English), Susannah is used to some freedoms. In her household she can think and read and have conversations about whatever opinions she has; without fear of what the town leaders will think. Her family doesn't even agree with all the Puritan ways. So when people start being accused of witchcraft left and right, she has reason to be afraid, especially since she knows the truth about the so - called possessed girls and their circle. If you do anything to cross the paths of Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Booth, Susannah Sheldon, Betty Parris, or Abigail Williams, your family may just be touched by the madness. With the Reverends and Magistrates hanging on every word of the 'afflicted' girls, it seems their is no end to the madness, and people all around Salem must step carefully. Secrets, trials, and waiting for the return of her lost-at-sea brother keeps you turning pages in this

perfect blend of fact and fiction. I would give this book five out of five stars. Anyone interested in the Salem Witch Trials or any girl looking for a great book would thoroughly enjoy reading A Break with Charity by: Ann Rinaldi.
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on May 18, 2005
This story of the Salem Witch Trials is told fourteen years later from a young women's point of view, remembering her life in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1700's. Discovering the accusing of witches in her area, Susannah is left with a decision to join the group of accusers, and risk her family being accused, or to not tell at all and let the accused be hanged. I was attracted to this book that it is about the Salem Witch Trials. I am very interested in this topic, and I wanted to know about the feeling of the accused and such and this book gave me a really good sense of the feelings of everyone, from the accused, to the afflicted. The main characters of the book are: Susannah, a girl in her late teens who knows the story behind the afflicted. Father, Susannah's father, who was accused (but his real name was not mentioned in the book.) William, Susannah's brother who went on a voyage as Susannah awaits his return. Goody Bibber, the elderly lady who scares Susannah by telling her things of which she thinks are going to happen in the future. And finally, the Circle, which consists of Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Booth, Susanna Sheldon, Betty Parris, and Abigail Williams, all of which were afflicted. My opinion about this book, that it is very interesting. I loved the way it is set up. There is a lot of dialogue, and I think that helps because you can see everyone's view on a situation. I would rate this book a medium read. It's not easy enough to understand by only reading a few pages at a time, but it isn't so hard that you have to look up words you don't understand. What I mean by this is if you don't understand a word, usually the sentence describes it enough that you can just move on. I would definitely recommend this book, but probably only to an audience of mature level. Also, an audience that enjoys suspense would be good for this book. A lessen taught in this book is to never hold in something important that it could save someone's life because in the end, it could hurt you more than it would originally by telling in the first place.
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