Silence is the method I’ve perfected, adaptable to almost any need. Silence and stillness. I wait.
In an undisclosed town during an undisclosed time lives a teenage girl maimed and muted by her former
These things we know:
• Society defines a girl by her virtue, or lack thereof.
• A girl defines herself by the way her mother treats her.
• A mother sometimes takes Society’s word over that of her daughter.
This is the tale of Judith Finch, our silent narrator and observer of all things around her.
Told in a present tense that forces the reader to shadow this wretched girl, we live Life alongside her, feeling her few joys and many sorrows.
There is great injustice in Judith’s story, the kind that only personal fortitude can overcome.
Judith’s test is to decide if that fortitude exists. Any opinions of her as a young woman before her abduction have long since evaporated. Gone for two years and returned for two, the town only knows her as the silent, probably simple, girl with the shamed and widowed mother.
Is it possible for such a person to have any allies? Happily, yes, but her greatest ally is surprising. He is the son of the man who took her and maimed her. Another is the son’s betrothed, who remembers Judith as a childhood friend.
With so much to overcome, both physically and within her broken family, the reader cannot help but root for such a protagonist. Being privy to her thoughts, elevated beyond what she can outwardly express, we know there is much more to this young woman than what the world admits.
Author Julie Berry has crafted a unique tale. Part Scarlet Letter, part Witch of Blackbird Pond,
part Crucible. Clearly this is a Puritanical society. Church attendance is mandatory. The accused are guilty until proven innocent. Superstition and ignorance run high. Compassion is scarce, but can be found among a trusted few.
This is a book aimed at young adults, but appealing to anyone who understands the context and time period. The characters, feelings, and, especially, the injustices, resonate with the reader.
Do I recommend it? Yes.