On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.
I have always been fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials, because there is a plethora of information out there about the different areas, the way in which the trials occurred, and how out of control the whole issue became. I read a book about the trials in high school, saw the movie, The Crucibles (remember Winona?), and read a lot about it in history class, while in college.
I was intrigued by the book, because it is based on the story of Rebecca Eames, written from her granddaughter (9th generation). While there is not a lot of new information gathered from the trials, Penni Jo does a fantastic job of sharing the story of her grandmother, while also bringing in what happened to the townspeople, those in prison, and the family. It’s a quick read, but does give a great glimpse into the life of Rebecca Eames and how incredibly courageous and strong she was, in spite of the accusations and shunning. She is a remarkable woman and it is wonderful that Penni Jo shared this story with her readers.
Overall, it’s a good book that will certainly be a read for those who love the history of the trials and wants a deeper insight into the Eames family and those also accused.
*A huge thanks to HFVBT for giving me the opportunity to read this book for review. No forms of compensation were given.
About the Author
Peni Renner is the author of “Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames”, an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni’s 9th great grandmother. The book is Renner’s first published work, and follows Eames’ life and struggles in 1692 Massachussetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials.
Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts.
After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk.
I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to.
For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.
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