Author: Peni Jo Renner
eBook, Hardcover and Paperback, 224 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: This book was given to me part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: “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.”
My Review: Ever since I read The Crucible in high school, I have been interested in the Salem witchcraft trials. It serves to remind how fear can treat others. Because of this, I have decided to read The Puritan Witch. It is based on the true story of Rebecca Eames, who was accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts during the trials of 1692. I had never heard of Rebecca Eames, but this novel shows how fascinating this woman was.
The story starts when Rebecca makes an angry verbal outburst at a mean man, who she views as a troublemaker, who attacked her family in front of her church community on a Sabbath. Her congregation is stunned by her comment and takes Rebecca's word as literal. She is soon arrested for witchcraft. She and her son, Daniel, who has caused trouble on the Sabbath, are taken to Salem where they become prisoners. She then endures imprisonment and humiliation. She feels that she is being punished because of her sin that happened in the past.
I came to admire Rebecca in this story. She is a strong person that is prone to impulse and anger sometimes. Over time, I felt that she was a human who made mistakes. She is a woman that went through a lot of pain and suffering and I felt for her. She is a woman that questions her God that puts her through so much suffering. She is a person anyone can identify with, and she never loses faith even when she feels she has no hope.
Overall, this book is about family, faith, love, loss, sacrifice, hope, repentance, redemption, and survival. The message of the book is that where there is darkness, there is light. When all seems to be hopeless, there is hope. This book shows the true meaning of family. While reading this book, it sort of reminded me of the short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Indeed, it also reminded me of The Scarlet Letter because of a strict Puritan society and a woman having to be punished because of her sin. The characters are very realistic, and the story is beautifully told. It can be slow sometimes, but overall it held my interest. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in the Salem Witch trials and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Praise for Puritan Witch:
“Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a story of the fear, suspicion, and accusations as they permeate the surrounding communities. The narration was exquisite, really painting a picture in my head and bringing to life the language of the Puritans much better than it usually is done. I loved that it was based on a true story and that the story really expands on a piece of the darkest of American history. Such a cool read!” – Katelyn Hensel, Readers’ Favorite
“Elegantly written, meticulously researched, and historically accurate, the author’s work rings true. … Renner’s vast talent as a writer is enhanced by the fact that she’s telling the story of her own family, completely captivating from beginning to end.” – Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman
“In the colonial-era tale Puritan Witch, the plight of Rebecca Eames and her family plays out against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing periods in American history.” – Julie Castillo, writer and editor
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 Massachusetts 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 genealogy 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.
You can visit Peni Renner Puritan Witch Facebook page or on Twitter.
You can purchase the book through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.