This was a fascinating account of a young girl’s life growing up in a Scottish clan in Colonial Massachusetts between 1630 and 1648. Annie is born to parents who are dying of a disease. Through a stroke of good fortune, she is rescued from the house of death before it is torched to prevent the spread of the illness. Annie, who is also suffering from the disease, is delivered to her aged grandmother, the clan’s healer, who manages to save her from an early death. The illness, unfortunately, leaves Annie deformed and mentally slow but she is a delightful child who shows signs of a second sight and healing ability early on.
The story delves into the lives of the people who are close to Annie, including a married minster masquerading as a Catholic Priest and a young Indian squaw whose parents die during the measles epidemic, and goes back in time to give an insight into the terrible reign of fear in Scotland due to religious persecution of Catholics during that troubled time. There are some very disturbing scenes and descriptions about the horrific treatment of women deemed to be witches and their families. This information provides a lot of background to the circumstances that gave rise to the Puritan settlement in Massachusetts at that time and their fanatical and ultra conservative outlook. The book provides fascinating detail about life during that time in both the Scottish Catholic settlement and in the nearby Puritan settlement and is heart wrenching in its descriptions of the rejection and ill treatment of people born with disabilities during that period of history and also the plight of ordinary men and women who are believed to have gone against the religious law.
While the story does have some focus on Annie’s extraordinary healing and spiritual talents, it is also a well research historical account of life in the early 17th century in Massachusetts and has an interesting love story which reminded me a bit of Romeo and Juliet.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly and rated it five out of five stars.