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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Elizabeth Waters is a young girl with a secret in Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar, and in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, that is not a good thing. During the rush to purge witches from Salem, Elizabeth gets caught up in trying to protect innocent women, but unwittingly unleashes problems that have dire consequences for her family and the town. In spite of her father’s cautioning to trust no one, Elizabeth is unable to hide her magical abilities and is left trying to change the course of actions that have been set in motion. With a town preacher sure that the devil is controlling women in the town and a magistrate not caring about proof or truth, Elizabeth feels responsible for protecting people who become caught up in the hysteria of the witch hunt. Biblical plagues, self-loathing, as well as old-fashioned hatred and revenge are potent forces making people behave in ways that turn neighbor against neighbor. Trying to do what is right is not always the easiest thing, especially when confronted with surprises that provide an explanation for what is really going on.
Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar is a fresh new look at the events known as the Salem witch trials. From the point of view of a first person account, you are immediately drawn into the action and feel the pressure of keeping a devastating secret along with the frustration of feeling powerless to help. Well written with a variety of characters with their own hidden motivations, the story speeds along with hope, despair, and the threat of the ultimate sacrifice. Well worth reading, this engaging tale adds a new dimension to the standard witch hunt genre.