Books I Love! Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian Will Haunt You

Description

A young Puritan woman—faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul–plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. 

But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary—a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony—soon becomes herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. 

A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.

My Take

Venturing into 1660’s Boston through this book was more than just a time travel. Life, even a pampered life, was hard then, none of the modern conveniences we take for granted, such as central heating, running water, and plumbing. No supermarkets either. No automobiles. The population was small enough so that everyone knew everyone else’s business and gossip was the city’s favorite past time. People were ugly, unforgiving, judgmental. Women’s rights were nonexistent. Wives were considered to be an extension of their husbands, their child at best, in need of guidance and discipline to keep them on a heavenly path.

Our heroine, Mary Deerfield, who left her family home of privilege and wealth to marry a man far older than herself and without the means to keep her in the lifestyle she was accustomed to, finds herself unable to bear children, “barren,” and the victim of her husband’s creative cruelty which leaves her scarred and with a hunger for vengeance. She is not afraid of him, no, and asks the magistrates that a divorce be granted. She is refused and returned to her husband’s home where his abuse, physical, mental, and emotional, continues. But our heroine devises other means to satisfy her need for vengeance, to escape her loveless marriage, and to find happiness with the man she does love.

The characters in this novel, the townsfolk, are a provincial bunch, worse than a small town Facebook page spreading rumors, lies, and gossip shamelessly while piously sitting through church services for hours on Sunday, hypocrites all. It is this stream of venom that leads to Mary’s demise. It seems everyone else knows what’s being said about her but her. She is not nearly as tuned in to the party line as the rest of her neighbors. The book is interesting in that it seems not much has changed since the 1660’s, except perhaps the technology. In any era, people are the same: quick to judge, blame, gaslight, and throw someone else under the bus to save their own selves. With the town talk so pervasive it was fun trying to stay ahead of the story to figure out what happens next and whether or not Mary escapes her inevitable doom. It kept me on my toes. I read the 400 page book in two days.

Recommended for fans of richly researched historical fiction and women’s fiction told from a man’s point of view. This one will haunt you.

STa

About the Author

CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of twenty-two books, including The Red Lotus, Midwives, and The Flight Attendant, which is an HBO Max limited series starring Kaley Cuoco. His other books include The Guest Room; Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands; The Sandcastle Girls; Skeletons at the Feast;and The Double Bind. His novels Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers were made into movies, and his work has been translated into more than thirty-five languages. He is also a playwright (Wingspan and Midwives). He lives in Vermont and can be found at chrisbohjalian.com or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Litsy, and Goodreads, @chrisbohjalian.

New Release Spotlight! Sunset on Moonlight Beach by Sheila Roberts

“Roberts proves again why she is the premier purveyor of small-town, feel-good romance.” Booklist

Description

Jenna Jones has been standing on the shore of the Sea of Love for too long. Even with two good men interested in her, she’s been afraid to wade in. According to her best friend, Courtney, she should. The water’s fine. Life is great! Practically perfect, if you don’t count Courtney’s problems with her cranky ex-boss. Maybe Courtney’s right. It’s time to dive in.

USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts takes readers back to the sun-dappled shores of Moonlight Harbor as its citizens find hope, happiness and humor in the wake of a tragic loss.

When tragedy strikes, everything changes and Jenna’s more confused than ever. But this fresh heartache might help her figure out at last who she can turn to when times get tough.

Full of warmth and humor, Sunset on Moonlight Beach proves that every ending can be the beginning of a beautiful new story.

Don’t miss these other delightful entries in the Moonlight Harbor series
Welcome to Moonlight Harbor
Winter at the Beach
The Summer Retreat
Beachside Beginnings

About the Author

With nearly thirty books to her name, Sheila Roberts is a frequent USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller – and a fan favorite. Her Christmas perennial “On Strike for Christmas” was made into a movie for the Lifetime Channel and her novel “The Nine Lives of Christmas” was made into a movie for Hallmark. Her novel “Angel Lane” was listed as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. Before settling into her writing career, Sheila owned a singing telegram company and played in band. When she’s not traveling, Sheila splits her time between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California.

Connect with Sheila Roberts

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Books I Love! The Ride of Her Life is an Engrossing Tale of a Woman’s Quest to Realize a Lifelong Dream

Description

The triumphant true story of a woman who rode her horse across America in the 1950s, fulfilling her dying wish to see the Pacific Ocean, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Horse and The Eighty-Dollar Champion.

“The gift Elizabeth Letts has is that she makes you feel you are the one taking this trip. This is a book we can enjoy always but especially need now.”—Elizabeth Berg, author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

In 1954, sixty-three-year-old Maine farmer Annie Wilkins embarked on an impossible journey. She had no money and no family, she had just lost her farm, and her doctor had given her only two years to live. But Annie wanted to see the Pacific Ocean before she died. She ignored her doctor’s advice to move into the county charity home. Instead, she bought a cast-off brown gelding named Tarzan, donned men’s dungarees, and headed south in mid-November, hoping to beat the snow. Annie had little idea what to expect beyond her rural crossroads; she didn’t even have a map. But she did have her ex-racehorse, her faithful mutt, and her own unfailing belief that Americans would treat a stranger with kindness.

Annie, Tarzan, and her dog, Depeche Toi, rode straight into a world transformed by the rapid construction of modern highways. Between 1954 and 1956, the three travelers pushed through blizzards, forded rivers, climbed mountains, and clung to the narrow shoulder as cars whipped by them at terrifying speeds. Annie rode more than four thousand miles, through America’s big cities and small towns. Along the way, she met ordinary people and celebrities—from Andrew Wyeth (who sketched Tarzan) to Art Linkletter and Groucho Marx. She received many offers—a permanent home at a riding stable in New Jersey, a job at a gas station in rural Kentucky, even a marriage proposal from a Wyoming rancher. In a decade when car ownership nearly tripled, when television’s influence was expanding fast, when homeowners began locking their doors, Annie and her four-footed companions inspired an outpouring of neighborliness in a rapidly changing world.

My Take

The simple idea of a woman setting out on horseback alone to traverse the country – from Maine to California – in 1954 was enough to get me to pick up this book. Once I started turning pages I couldn’t stop. Annie’s early life was interesting, as she was raised on a remote farm with no modern conveniences, and I enjoyed those well-written early chapters that sucked me into the story. She was never a woman used to comfort, thus she faced her journey with practicality and little expectations for aid. But as the story wound on it became even more fascinating. It describes a way of life long gone as Annie made her way along country roads, avoiding highways becoming more and more congested with cars and danger, and finding kind, generous, trusting strangers along the way who provided food, shelter and support. I wondered how or if someone could make a similar journey today.

Throughout the story I felt like I was riding right behind Annie on Tarzan, little Depeche Toi on my lap. The descriptions of the struggles she faced due to winter weather, cold, heavy rains, overnight stays in jail cells because those were the only available rooms in town, illness, and injuries to her horses were gripping. The beauty she encountered in nature and the landscape, and the goodness she found within the hearts of townsfolk was heartwarming and inspiring. She traveled without GPS, or even a decent map of the country, relying on regional maps and instructions from those she passed on how to get to her destination. It took her a lot longer than she expected but she finally made her way to California, although with some disappointment.

Highly recommended for those interested in Americana, women’s history, and a good road trip.

About the Author

If you want to know why I’m a writer, you’d have to thank Mrs. Barclay, the children’s librarian in the Malaga Cove Library in Palos Verdes, California, and my mother. who has read more books than anyone else I know, and who carted me to the library from the time I could barely walk. From the day I sounded out my first board book (Ann Likes Red), read my first poem (Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson) and was swept up in my first long chapter book, (Little House in the Big Woods) I’ve been a passionate reader and fascinated by the lives and personalities of my favorite authors. But I was a late bloomer. I spent my twenties and thirties working as a nurse-midwife and raising four children. When I turned forty, I decided that I didn’t want to be one of those people who thought she had a book in her but never gave it a try, and I sat down to write my first novel. Now, writing is my full-time pursuit. My passions are horses and all animals, my children, singing in a choir, and long road trips through the backroads of America. I care deeply about issues that affect women and children, and especially those who are fleeing danger. But my favorite hobby is still the one that Mrs. Barclay and my mom got me started on– reading.

Connect with Elizabeth Letts

http://www.elizabethletts.com
Twitter: @elizabethletts
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eightydollarchampion
instagram: elizabethletts

New Release Spotlight! The Soulmate Equation, a Rom-Com from Writing Team Christina Lauren

The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Description

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers:This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

About the Authors

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 Internationally bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You / Hating You, Autoboyography, Love and Other Words, Roomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and The Unhoneymooners. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, @ChristinaLauren on Instagram, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.