Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book review: Father of Lies by Ann Turner

Father of Lies by Ann Turner (Published by HarperTeen, February 8, 2011)

It is the winter of 1692 in the village of Salem, Massachusetts. Fourteen-year-old Lidda Johnson has always felt different from everyone else in her strict Puritan village. She longs to dance and sing and be free. She also has hallucinations and hears a voice inside her, a voice that calls himself Lucian. She doesn't understand why this is happening to her and is afraid to tell anyone. Her family has always thought her a bit odd, and as her behavior becomes stranger, she struggles to hide it from them.

Meanwhile, even worse trouble is stirring in Salem Village. Several young girls are having strange fits and blaming their afflictions on witchcraft. Lidda doesn't believe that her neighbors, who are good, ordinary people, could be witches who torment children. She knows that the girls are lying, but if she speaks up, she risks being accused of witchcraft herself, especially since she has always been different.

Father of Lies tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials from the unique and often disturbing viewpoint of a young girl suffering from bipolar disorder, a condition that was not yet understood in the 17th century. Despite how disturbed Lidda was, she seemed saner than most of the villagers, who were so willing to turn against their friends and neighbors because of the wild accusations of a few young girls. I thought this book was a very unique perspective on this disturbing time in history and I would recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction. However, the ending was a bit abrupt; since this book was rather short I would have liked to read more about what happened to Lidda afer the ending, as I really think it could have been a bit longer.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

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