Gallows Hill

Lerner/­Carolrhoda Lab. Sept. 2023. 216p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781728431024.
Gr 9 Up–Told in alternating points of view, Ruby’s latest work is set during the witch trials in 17th-century Salem. Thomas Stillbrooke and his sister Grace arrive in Salem in the spring of 1692 after losing their mother in childbirth and their father to illness in search of land during the journey from London. They are both Quakers, a minority in Puritan Salem. After disembarking their ship, the pair quickly encounter Patience Woodstock, the fishmonger’s daughter, who is a resident of Salem. Patience has witnessed firsthand the effects of the suspected witchcraft on the young girls of Salem and, in fact, one of the girls afflicted is her own younger sister, Abigail. The religious undertones between the Puritans and the Quakers combined with the escalating tensions involved in the trials makes for an engaging tale of friendship set against a turbulent historical period. Ruby powerfully showcases the terror, and the consequences, of a witchcraft accusation on the accused as well as the community as a whole in the era. Main characters present as white and heterosexual.
VERDICT Recommended for larger collections, and for fans of Stephanie Hemphill’s Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials and Adriana Mather’s How to Hang a Witch.

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