1600s

Grade Level Interest
M
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. (A/YA)

 

Blood on the River: Jamestown, 1607 by Elisa Carbone

Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can’t believe his good fortune. But beginning with the stormy journey and his first contact with the native people, he realizes that the New World is nothing like he imagined. As he learns the language of the Algonquian Indians and observes Captain Smith’s wise diplomacy, Samuel begins to see that he can be whomever he wants to be in this new land. (M)

 

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Sixteen year-old Griet, a servant in the house of Dutch painter Vermeer, is the fictional subject of his famous painting, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. The household is turned upside down when everyone questions whether Griet is more than a model to Vermeer. (A/YA)

 

I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter by Lynn Cullen

With her mother dead of the plague and her brother newly married, Cornelia van Rijn finds herself without a friend or confidante—except her difficult father. Out of favor with Amsterdam’s elite, the once revered Rembrandt van Rijn is now teetering on the brink of madness. Cornelia alone must care for him, though she is haunted by secrets and scandal of her own. (M, S)

Top

 

Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper

Anne lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she’s dead, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. Falsely accused of murder in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, going over the events that led her to this place. Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools…Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive? (S)

 

At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper

In the summer of 1665, Hannah travels to London to live with her older sister, Sarah, the owner of a sweetmeats shop. But the bubonic plague begins taking hold, and although Hannah enjoys the excitement of big-city life, the realities of the epidemic soon become impossible to ignore. (M, S)

 

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door. Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process. (M, S)

 

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Mary’s grandmother is executed for witchcraft, and Mary is forced to leave her home to avoid the same fate. At first she flees to the English countryside, but when the atmosphere of superstition and suspicion becomes all consuming she leaves on a boat for America in the hope that she can start over and forget her past. But during the journey, she realizes that the past is not so easy to escape. (M, S)

 

Sorceress by Celia Rees

Eighteen-year-old Agnes, a Mohawk Indian who is descended from a line of shamanic healers, uses her own newly-discovered powers to uncover the story of her ancestor, a seventeenth-century New England English healer who fled charges of witchcraft to make her life with the local Indians. Sequel to Witch Child. (M, S)

Top

 

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi

Susanna desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage in Salem. What she doesn’t realize is that the girls are about to set off a torrent of false accusations leading to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people. Susanna faces a painful choice. Should she keep quiet and let the witch-hunt panic continue, or should she “break charity” with the group – and risk having her own family members named as witches? (M)

 

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Orphaned Kit Tyler, raised on the island of Barbados, is an outsider in her relatives’ stern Puritan community in Massachusetts colony. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond. But when Kit’s friendship with the “witch” is discovered, she herself is accused of witchcraft. (M)

 

Ladies in Waiting by Laura L. Sullivan

Eliza dreams of being a playwright, admired for her witty turns of phrase rather than her father’s wealth. Beth is beautiful but poor as a church mouse, so she must marry well, despite her love for her childhood sweetheart. Zabby comes to England to further her scientific studies – and ends up saving the life of King Charles II. Soon her friendship with him becomes a dangerous, impossible obsession. And so Zabby, Beth, and Eliza, three Elizabeths from very different walks of life, find themselves at the center of the most scandal-filled court that England has ever seen. (S)

 

No Shame, No Fear by Ann Turnbull

In England in 1662, a time of religious persecution, fifteen-year-old Susanna, a poor country girl and a Quaker, and seventeen-year-old William, a wealthy Anglican, meet and fall in love against all odds. (M, S)

 

 

Forged in the Fire by Ann Turnbull

Cast out by his father for becoming a Quaker, the newly independent Will travels from the countryside to London to earn a living. He and his beloved Susanna wait patiently to be reunited and, at last, married. But life is difficult, and the young couple face jail, plague, and the horrifying London Fire of 1666, in this sequel to No Shame, No Fear. (M, S)

Top