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The novel’s 16-year-old protagonist. Newly orphaned and fleeing a marriage to an older man, Kit leaves her home in Barbados only to find herself a fish-out-of-water in oppressive, Puritan New England. Headstrong and naïve at the beginning of the story, Kit grows into an independent and compassionate young woman by the novel’s end.
Kit’s cousin and sister to Mercy. Beautiful and vain, Judith is preoccupied with the wealth and status of potential suitors. She is also forthright, practical, and hard-working.
Kit’s cousin and sister to Judith. Although she is physically disabled from a childhood illness, Mercy’s strength and compassion make her a symbol of Puritan grace and selflessness. She is the lynchpin that holds the Wood family together and is gifted at calming heated situations.
A divinity student who sails aboard the Dolphin from Saybrook to Wethersfield to study under the tutelage of Reverend Bulkeley. Intelligent, serious, and kind-hearted, John is determined to get a proper education despite his background as a poor tanner’s son. He is the love interest of sisters Mercy and Judith Wood.
The son of the captain of the Dolphin, a trading ship that regularly sails between the Caribbean and New England. Nat is a mischievous freethinker who spends his time in the company of outsiders. His loyalty attracts Kit, whom he eventually proposes marriage to.
An elderly Quaker woman who lives alone in a small cottage near Blackbird Pond. Kind and somewhat eccentric, the townspeople of Wethersfield unfairly label her a witch and treat her with hostility and suspicion.
The young daughter of Goodwife and Goodman Cruff. Curious and shy, she is neglected and mistreated by her mother and seeks refuge in the friendship of fellow outcasts: Hannah Tupper, Kit Tyler, and Nat Eaton.
Kit’s maternal aunt, mother to Judith and Mercy, and wife to Matthew. Warm-hearted, gracious, and hard-working, Rachel left England for Puritan New England to marry for love.
Kit’s Puritan uncle, father to Judith and Mercy, and husband to Rachel. Religious and stoic, Matthew is a staunch supporter of Connecticut’s right to self-governance.
The son of a wealthy landowner in Wethersfield. Serious and somewhat superficial, William is widely considered one of the most eligible bachelors in Wethersfield. He begins courting Kit shortly after meeting her.
A religious figure and doctor in Wethersfield and William’s teacher. Reverend Gershom Bulkeley was also a real-life historical figure known for being a Royalist, or supporter of King James.
A superstitious and prejudiced member of the Wethersfield community. Cruel and ignorant, Goodwife Cruff neglects and abuses her daughter Prudence. She is the first person to accuse Kit of witchcraft.
The husband of Goodwife Cruff. Goodman Cruff’s inability to stand up to his wife leads to the abuse and neglect of his daughter, Prudence.
The real-life historical governor of Massachusetts who was sent by King James to annex the Connecticut Colony.