In 1692, the residents in Salem and Ipswich live with stories of witchcraft, religious extremism, and false accusations. Mock trials lead to questionable convictions and speedy executions. Most of the condemned are women, all but one are hung. Others, including two infant children, die in prison.
For Mehitabel Braybrooke, life began as the illegitimate child of a prosperous landowner. Now her stepmother is convinced the girl is a pawn of the Devil. During a time when women have few rights and even fewer allies in the courts, what will become of the falsely accused?
Written for the General Market (G) (I): Contains little or no; sexual dialogue or situations, violence, or strong language. May also contain some content of an inspirational/religious nature.
In the Shadow of Salem by Donna Gawell
This book is based on the life of Mehitabel Braybrooke Downing. The author’s note reveals that few facts are known about her. A story was crafted using many actual historical figures from what is known of their lives.
Readers first meet Mehitabel as a prisoner in 1692. She’s been accused of witchcraft in her hometown of Ipswich, Massachusetts, during the Salem Witch Trials. Joan, the woman she has always referred to as Mother, is then arrested. Lifelong resentments invade the prison cell with her.
The author then goes back in time to show what soured their relationship from the very beginning.
Told in first person, the story gripped me immediately. I couldn’t put it down for long as I had to know what happened to a mistreated young girl who made unwise choices.