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Parents need to know that complex characters and a spine-tingling plot will have many readers racing through the novel to find out what happens next. Still, some parents won't feel comfortable when Mary tells her brother, "I will scratch. I will cut. I will stab. I will kill to find out where Mother is and save her.

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Add your rating See all 1 parent review. Add your rating See all 3 kid reviews. In an age of superstition, the hysterical ravings of young women whip a town into a frenzy that will not end until twenty-four people have lost their lives. By turns exciting and horrifying, Kathryn Lasky's novel tells the story of Mary and Caleb Chase's race to save their mother, who must escape from Salem or be hanged as a witch.

Lasky excerpts much of her material from sermons, trial testimonies, and contemporary histories, cleverly blending fact and fiction. Her fictional characters are skillfully conceived and believable. Many readers will identify with Mary Chase, someone apart from the hysteria who struggles to understand the motivations of the young women and the townspeople supporting them. The novel is packed with scenes of searing emotional intensity.

When Mary views a hanging for the first time or when Virginia Chase tells her children to abandon her and save themselves, the scenes draw the reader in as a witness to these painful events. Ultimately, Mary becomes immersed in this culture of violence and tells her brother, "I will scratch.

This point aside, Lasky's novel is a riveting read that even many reluctant readers will find hard to put down. Families can talk about the Salem witch trials. Do you think the women who were believed to be witches really had special powers that they used for evil means? How does this book compare to other stories your read or seen in movies about the Salem witch trials? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


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By Marjorie Agosín; translated by Jacqueline Nanfito

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Want personalized picks that fit your family? Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids. Beyond the Burning Time. Fascinating, graphic look at Salem witch trials. Kathryn Lasky Historical Fiction Rate book. Read or buy. Based on 1 review. Based on 3 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book. Positive Messages. Shows the danger of mass hysteria. What parents need to know Parents need to know that complex characters and a spine-tingling plot will have many readers racing through the novel to find out what happens next. Continue reading Show less. Life was hard for women back then, they would have to stay in their village tending to their gardens and fields well then men would be getting money for their family. They were commonly miss-treated by men if they did anything wrong and they would get beat sometimes as well.

If their husband died they would sometimes get kicked out of their homes because the property was no longer theirs and they would have to move in with a family member along with all their children.


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  6. They would constantly be asked to be married to a man that they didn't even like and the women's father could arrange a marriage were the daughter has no rights to deny. The life of women could also not be that bad they could marry a man that they love and could spend a long life being a house wife and not causing harm, which is not bad. I really liked this book, it was very exciting in the story line and was told very well. It had constant excitement from the time the girl's father came home to the time he died. Even to the time where the girl's mother was caught and she was in hiding.

    There was always something happening, and the theme of the book was also exciting too.

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    Beyond the Burning Time Discussion Guide | Scholastic

    When the witch hunters came into the village it was very exciting and the book just kept getting more interesting from there. I liked how the girl's mother was so strong and was being a great mother even through torture and death threats. She told her daughter what to do with such strength that the girl had to do it for her even though in her last moments she was very weak and worn out.

    May 12, Judy rated it really liked it.

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    It is terrifying to think that women can be falsely accused and tortured to death, all in the name of false religion. This book aids understanding for anyone who can't believe what the falsely accused 'witches' of Salem endured and how not even their own families could ever help them. Mar 05, Mary Kate rated it it was ok. The topic was dark yet the writing and storytelling was simplistic. Feb 19, Gabriell Nelson added it. Rose Rives the 15 year old main character, is terrified when the judge Monsieur de Lancre invades her small village looking for witches.

    She is a naive character, and since she has never experienced witch trials, she does not know the terrible things they do to people during the witch trials. When Rose is left alone because her mother has been taken to be tortured none of her neighbors help to free her mother except her best friend Raymond and her other friend Sylvie who was practically Roses older sister. Rose is helpless, fear full and lonely "when I woke up I realized just how alone I was.

    Who could I look to for help. But by the time Rose had seen her mother imprisoned and cold she became stronger because she knew she had to be strong for both her mom and her p. Rose must now find a way to free her mother and keep herself from being accused of a witch. The novel is written in first person point of view, with Rose as the narrator. This allows the reader to gain insight into her thoughts, and see how she transforms throughout the course of the novel. Some of the important themes in this book involve struggling to save someone you love, women strength an empowerment, and saving the lives of others.

    The mood varies throughout the novel from worried in the midst of character conflicts, scarred during their struggles with the judge, and at times safe when the character escapes from her terrible fate. The most important quote from the book was spoken by Roses mother on page "you are saving my soul. By saying these words, it helps Rose overcome the fear of having to leave her mother to suffer.