A Break With Charity:  A Story About The Salem Witch Trials - Ann Rinaldi

Susanna wants to the join the circle of girls who meet at parsonage every day in Salem Village. But not being from the village herself, they refuse to invite her.


Susanna learns what the girls do at these meetings, but doesn't doesn't realize what these girls will do to Salem and those who live there.


I've read a lot about the Salem Witch Trials, fiction and non-fiction. I even visited Salem when I was 17. Learning about Salem, the witch trials and its history has always interested me. That is one of the reasons I read this book and another is that Ann Rinaldi writes really great historical fiction.


I find the character of Susanna easy to relate to and likeable. She has some really difficult decisions to make. She wants to protect her family, but also bring an end to the witch madness in Salem. Watching the events unfold through the eyes of Susanna just made me sad and even angry. The Salem Witch Trials was just a horrifying event in history and it happened for what reason? Taking land? Boredom? Condemning those you feel do not follow the rules? Those you feel that don't belong? The reason for such a horrible event is probably a combination of all those.


While we will never truly know what it was like to live in Salem during the Witch Trials, I think this historical fiction does a good job of giving an idea of what it might be like. Susanna's view is, of course, that of a person who isn't directly involved. She does know what is going on, but since she was never allowed to join the girls, she was never involved with naming witches.


Seeing through Susanna's eyes, the witch trials are not right in her opinion. She and her family believe there are no witches and therefore, do not hold with the Puritans belief in witches.


Susanna is a good character, but she is not without her own flaws and eventually doubts, as it is seen later in the book.


At the end is an author's note explaining some of the history of Salem and the characters in the book. She does a good job of explaining the history, but I will correct a mistake the author made. Tituba, the slave who was blamed for bringing witchcraft to the girls attention, is not African as Rinaldi and many other state. Tituba was actually Indian. Except for that historical mistake, the book was a very good read. Well-written and definitely one of my favorite historical fiction books about Salem. I'd give it 4 and a half stars.