THE WHITE WITCH by Janet Graber
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 11 - 14


Fourteen-year-old Gwendoline Riston is in big trouble. Her startlingly milky skin, ash-white hair and abilities as a healer have the villagers spooked, so when the Great Plague spreads from London to Letchlade in 1665, they blame her, “the pale one,” a witch to be sure. For her own protection, her loving father hides her in a secret attic chamber in St. Giles church while he ventures off in search of his missing adopted son, Gwen’s true love. Days turn to months in the solitary confinement of Gwen’s increasingly fetid prison. Readers will share her horror as she witnesses, through a small window, the plague’s ghastly toll on the villagers below her...and their superstition-driven rage: “ ‘Purge us of the evil one,’ mutters Mistress Bramwell...‘She lurks in the air. I feel it.’ ” Themes of willful ignorance, blind faith, persecution, honor, altruism and love swirl through this tightly knit, genuinely suspenseful and occasionally gruesome novel, whose vivid sense of time and place is only intensified by the formal, elegant cadence of Gwen’s fiercely passionate first-person voice. (author’s note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59643-337-3
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2009


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