From Library Journal
Among those accused of witchcraft in Salem Village in 1692 was four-year-old Dorcas Good, whose mother, Sarah, was among the first women tried and hung as a witch. Earhart shapes her novel as a diary of remembrance written by the adult Dorcas, traumatized by abuse but surviving against impossible odds. Her alcoholic father appears as a consummate villain, refusing to support his family, denouncing his wife as a witch, and abusing Dorcas sexually and physically from the time she is a toddler. He eventually secures her release from jail, primarily to sell her sexual services to others. In fact, many men in Dorcas's world are sadistic, sex-obsessed women-haters. Only Jack Quelch, a pirate, makes futile attempts to rescue her. Since the story is told by a victim, no explanations are offered for the hysteria that gripped the community and sent many innocent people to their deaths. Earhart includes photos of Salem locations mentioned in the book as well as a bibliography. This chilling fictional account will send readers searching for additional information about the frenzy that gripped New England 300 years ago.DKathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Fiction shines a new light on the Salem witch trials, as seen through the eyes of an accused four-year-old child whose eight-month imprisonment drives her mad. That much is history, as is the hanging of Dorcas' mother, Sarah Good, as a witch. But in this fictional diary (supplemented by photographs of sites in Salem Village and a two-page bibliography), the emphasis is less on the five young female accusers, many described as living in servitude themselves, than on the rest of the town and particularly its men. Here William Good is a violent good-for-nothing who beats his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Dorcas, then sexually molests the child and sells her into prostitution. Jailers force themselves on Dorcas and other female prisoners, and even the best of men speak lightly of not minding having mothers-in-law accused of witchcraft. Only two fictitious men--a kind jailer who pledges his troth to Sarah and a dashing pirate who tries to save Dorm--redeem their gender. This story of a child who suffers unspeakable cruelty and deprivation, relieved only by her inner life, makes history live. Michele LeberCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved