Mary is the grand-daughter of an old woman who was hanged as a witch. Not knowing her mother or father, a woman turns up on the day of the hanging to take her away, but life is anything but settled for Mary. Although the woman rescues her from danger, for the locals already suspect she might be a witch as well, the woman sends her away.
Even though she is provided for, Mary is abandoned and alone, forced to start a new life in the New World. In amongst her new things she finds ink, paper and a quill – the means to make a journal. And so Mary begins a record of all that happens to her…
However, the danger she is supposedly being protected from at home – falling under the same suspicion as her grandmother – follows her across the ocean. Superstition and mistrust is worse in the New World than the Old one. How will Mary fare?
This was a very interesting, unusual read. Told in the form of diary entries, we hear Mary’s tale told in her own words. The people she meets are interesting; some are really kind, and some are quite the opposite. And the descriptions of the places she visits are clear and evocative.
Although this book is aimed at teenage readers, I found it gripping, holding my attention to the very end. I needed to find out how things turned out for Mary and so I couldn’t put the book down until I had finished it. It is simple yet engaging as it manages to evoke the terror of the period for someone accused of witchcraft especially when it comes to the basic fact that you cannot reason with people who are scared of what they cannot explain.