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The Burning Time Hardcover – September 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Hardcover: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385320973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385320979
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,616,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"'I dreamed a fire consumed us all!' Mme. Trembley shook her gnarled finger at us and screamed." Such are the portentous opening lines of this feverish novel about a witch hunt in 16th-century France. Through no fault of her own, Rose Rives's mother has earned the enmity of many neighbors: the doctor bitterly resents her midwifery skills, which far surpass his own; the priest hates her for spurning his sexual advances; her late husband's brothers want control over her land; jealous wives accuse her of bewitching their husbands. When a judge arrives in town demanding the names of witches, Mama's is among the first submitted. As she did in Daniel's Story, Matas insists on casting her protagonist in every scene, and she seeks out the extreme: Rose watches the vicious torture of her mother, eavesdrops on the judge's deliberations with the lewd priest, sneaks in and out of her mother's jail cell. The overweening injustice of it all may grab YA audiences; however, Matas limits her impact with her inability to convey historical drama through any but the crudest filters. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10-This well-written historical novel set in early 17th-century France offers an unusual perspective on a perenially popular, often sensationalized subject. Rose Rives, 15, and her mother are shocked by the sudden accidental death of Rose's father, but their tragedy has just begun. Madame Rives, a midwife and healer, is accused of being a witch and, along with several other village women, is tortured until she both confesses and names other supposed "witches." Rose is also accused, but manages to escape capture with the help of friends. The story is fast paced and suspenseful, with briskly drawn but convincing characters. Matas suggests the real reasons why females may have been accused of witchcraft: professional jealousy on the part of male medical practitioners; greed for land or wealth (which was forfeited to the church); resentment of strong, independent women; and the settling of long-standing grudges between neighbors or family members. The scene in which Rose's mother is tortured is graphic and compelling, allowing readers to understand just how the accused might have been forced to give false testimony. Rose's difficult choices are well drawn, and there is real drama as the plot quickly draws to a close. While the events depicted are generally grim, some hope is offered in a brief epilogue that helps to lighten the overall tone without trivializing the topic or weakening the book's impact. Matas's ability to write gripping stories that bring the past alive is well displayed in this enlightening and involving novel.
Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "evilgrrlfriday" on August 16, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Carol Matas, best known for the "Of Two Minds" novels and her various Holocaust fictions, has created a shocking novella about two women who find themselves trapped in a witch hunt in Renaissance France.
Suzanne Rives, a beautiful and fiercely independent widow and skilled midwife, refuses advances from two men to live with her daughter, the main character Rose. People have already been suspicious of her herbal treatments, but when a witch hunter spreads terror in the town comes, Suzanne's fate is sealed.
However, Rose still has some allies: Sylvie, a plucky castle maid whose motives are revealed later, and Raymond, a young man. Suzanne is subjected to horrifying torture by the cruel witch hunters and fanatics.
The violence is bloody and shocking, but never goes over the top. This book is well written, taut and poignant, about a mother-daughter relationship that must overcome the cruelties of the day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
When a death in the family occurs, Rose's life is turned around. First life without her father, then her mother is accused of witchcraft! If it weren't for spiteful family members or jealous practitians, Rose's simple life might have carried on, with a few women being tortured and burned. But fate has willed that Rose's mother should be tortured, and probably killed. A few(very few!) friends help Rose and attempt to save her mother, but that means getting out of the village; most of her childhood friends have turned against her and will never be the same again.
This book is excellent, and very historical. The characters are well-conceived, as is the plot. It is so realistic, that if I hadn't seen 'A Novel by Carol Matas' on the front, I would have believed that this really happened! And in a sense, it did. Many women were killed in this manner.
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Format: Paperback
In the 106 pages of THE BURNING TIME, Carol Matas is able to take you through tremendous tragedy. And hope.

Rose's mother is a midwife who is known for her great gift of healing, and Rose oftentimes helps her mother. Rose's father dies unexpectedly, leaving just she and her mother to take care of themselves and the land he left them in his will.

Her father's relatives are not happy that they did not receive the land upon Rose's father's death. One uncle in particular feels it should be his and is willing to do about anything to get the land for himself. This is where the historical travesty against women during that time period becomes so real--Rose's mother is accused of being a witch. If you think you know what happened to women accused of being witches during that time, you will still be moved by what happens in this book.

Carol Matas has taken such a historical event and put such closeness to it with her characters. No longer is France in the 16th century something read about in a history book, but rather real people let us into their lives and we experience a different kind of world. A different kind of society.

As a teacher I recommend this book often and every student of mine who has read it absolutely loves it. It is a quick read with a powerful punch.

Reviewed by: Dianna Geers
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A Kid's Review on January 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
on a winter day my teacher thought about reading us a book so she picked this one, the burning time; when she started off it seemed like a very interesting book but later when it got to the to tourture I thought that that like come on ok thats enough! but then again at a point I was interested in what they were doing to the women back then . overall its a very good book i reccommend it for girls and boys 12 and over.
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By A Customer on February 9, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A thrilling book about a girl named Rose, whose mother is taken away because she is accused of witchcraft. Soon after, Rose is also accused. She must find a way to flee her village and find the courage to fullfill her mother's last wish. This is a very suspenseful book, full of emotion
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More About the Author

My latest book Tucson Jo is just out and it is my 45th book for young people. Like many of my other books it is an historical novel for grades 5-9, set in Tucson, Arizona, 1882. I love to write in all genres but am probably best known for my books about The Holocaust, like Daniel's Story, written for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. These stories are important for young readers who might not realize the horrors that happened in a civilized country and in a civilized world. I also have written other historical novels like The Burning Time about women who were persecuted as witches, or The War Within set during the American civil war.

Of Two Minds is a fantasy that has been reissued written with my sometime co writer Perry Nodelman.

For those of you who love science fiction check out The Edge Of When.



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