Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem
By Dave Tamanini
The first thing I want to say is that somehow, I missed that the Salem witch trials included a slave. I don't know if that wasn't taught in school or if I just wasn't listening. So, I'm glad I picked up the book to get to know this "witch" from the annals of history.
After finishing the book by Tamanini, I did a little more research into Tituba to learn what was real and what was not. Although the author stayed relatively close to history, he did put his own spin on things. Of course, the history on Tituba is not expansive, so his story is as likely as anyone else's.
That said, I'm not sure what I thought of the book. I often got lost in the names and felt like I was being sucked along through a trial that made no sense. On the other hand, Tituba herself was a well-developed character that I understood at first, grew to hate, and who eventually redeemed herself, at least to some degree. The fact that one character evoked so many feelings is the sign of a good character - at least as I see it.
However, I wish I had gotten inside Tituba's head more, especially as the trials began. I think it would have been easier to accept her redemption at the end if we had been given a front row seat to her inner workings.
Generally speaking, I enjoyed the book. I would say that if you like historical fiction and are interested in the Salem witch trials, that this would be one to read. The book came out in 2020 and is Tamanini's first novel - at least that I could find. I'd be interested to see what he does with his second.
Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
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