Rachel Wood lives in Wethersfield, in the colony of Connecticut.
This book takes place during colonial times. Wethersfield is basically a stop along the river in the colony of Connecticut. It is close to a river, but is quite a dreary place compared to the island of Barbados, where Kit came from. Kit’s first impression is not flattering.
Just a narrow sandy stretch of shoreline, a few piles sunk in the river with rough planking for a platform. Out of the mist jutted a row of cavernous wooden structures that must be warehouses, and beyond that the dense, dripping green of fields and woods. (Ch. 2)
Kit describes it as a “mere settlement,” upset that it is not a “fine town.” She immediately finds it “lonely and dreary,” a condition that matches her spirits since her grandfather died and she has no parents. She is going to live with her aunt Rachel and her uncle Matthew, but she did not even tell them she was coming in case they would not let her come.
Rachel Wood lives on High Street, which Kit describes as a “cow path,” in the “third house beyond the Common” (Ch. 3). Kit is relieved to see her uncle’s house.
At least it looked solid and respectable, compared to the cabins they had passed. Two and a half stories it stood, gracefully proportioned, with leaded glass windows and clapboards weathered to a silvery gray. (Ch. 3)
It is a simple house, because the Puritans are simple people. However, it is comfortable. The Woods have two daughters, Mercy and Judith.
Kit is very judgmental when she first arrives. Nothing is as she is used to, and she takes everything on appearances. She is used to fancy (and warm). She finds that people judge her too, and the tables are soon turned. This is really a book about judgement.
At first, Kit has trouble fitting in to the strict lifestyle of the household because they do not approve of anything about her. Her politics are wrong, her clothes are too fancy, she reads fiction, and she has already caused a stir for knowing how to swim. She also has trouble with all of the chores the family has to do, and the harsh weather. Over time, Kit finds her way in the new world, and she even falls in love.