Father of Lies

Ann Turner, Author
Ann Turner, HarperTeen, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-137085-4
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Turner (Hard Hit) takes readers inside the fascinating but disturbing mind of 14-year-old Lidda, who, during the Salem witch trials, experiences vivid hallucinations that have her wondering if she might be a witch herself. Lidda's thoughts are constantly plagued by the haughty, chiding voice of Lucian, who spouts condescending, sometimes derisive directives such as, "I deal in truth and lies, and to you I give the wit to tell the difference." Readers are left to ponder if Lucian is Lidda's subconscious or a symptom of mental illness, especially when his abrupt disappearance midstory leaves Lidda outwardly mute and inwardly despairing. While Lidda struggles with her mental stability, the town of Salem Village has its own troubles: namely the alarming period of "witch fever" for which it is infamous. Turner portrays the girls' afflictions as plotted and staged, leaving readers aghast that innocent men and women were imprisoned or hanged after being accused of witchcraft. The ending, like history, leaves many questions unanswered, but Lidda's story and her final courageous stand against injustice are highly satisfying. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
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