The instant I began reading How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, I felt pulled into the story. What’s not to love? The history of the Salem Witch Trials, clever characters and an interesting synopsis immediately piqued my curiosity! Told in Sam Mather’s point of view as she moves to Salem, Massachusetts with her stepmother. The two of them reside in Sam’s grandmother’s house while Sam’s father suffers in a coma that has lasted over three months already. Sam is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men who hanged witches during the Salem Witch Trials. A group of students, known as the Descendants, because they are actual descendants of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials hangings, immediately dislike Sam because of her last name. Her neighbors, Jaxon and his mother, are friendly and they knew Sam’s grandmother well and took care of her and her home when she couldn’t anymore. Jaxon seems to be the only friendly person in the entire school, including the teachers. The relationship and banter between Jaxon and Sam makes me smile and when they find a hidden room in her house, the mystery begins.
The author’s beautiful descriptions bring the historical homes to life and portray the magnificence of a Massachusetts autumn. The mystery, suspense and the curse all grow in intensity and I am never quite sure who Sam can trust. Wonderful and creative writing, dynamic and complex characters and a plot that everyone can relate to make this an amazing book. The author’s notes share what is historically accurate and what’s fiction and her personal genealogy makes me think that she needs to write more historical fiction! 5 stars – perfect from beginning to end!