An interesting historical fiction novel; heavy on the "fiction" aspect.
A nice example of a strong, intelligent female character. Some of the sillier aspects of the plot can be forgiven on that basis alone.
Interesting, but quirky, this book took me a VERY long time to complete. While in no way shape or form a history buff, I am interested in that dark time in our collective past where people were tortured and put to death out of ignorance and fear and a belief in witchcraft. So, this book provides an interesting story, partially based in fact, focused on witchfinding and the beliefs of the time. I read those portions with relish.
What's quirky about the book is that it is authored by another book (not literally, of course). I enjoyed this concept and liked the "author/narrator" and "his" sarcastic and witty dialogue. Morrow is quite creative in giving life to this "author" and building an entire history including wars and "discussions" between old and modern literature.
The "author", however, has a tendency to be verbose and go off on tangents that have little to do with the witchfinding that interested me and more to do with some historical event that I found boring or tedious. That being said, I did enjoy most of the escapades and personalities that were introduced throughout the book.
I believe this book will be enjoyed most fully by those who are interested in this era of our history, including and beyond the witch craze of the time. An aside, I loved the language - old English - that's used throughout. The author was successful in creating a sense of time and place so that you had to sort of clear your head after reading for a while in order to tolerate the far cruder manners and language of today. : )
Starred Review. Nine years in the making, Morrow's richly detailed, cerebral tale of rationality versus superstitious bigotry is set in late-17th-century London and colonial New England, a time when everyday actions were judged according to the rigid Parliamentary Witchcraft Act and suspect women were persecuted for alleged acts of sorcery. Inquisitive, "kinetic" Jennet Stearne, daughter of militant Witchfinder Gen. Walter Stearne, witnesses this pursuit of "Satanists" up close when her beloved maternal Aunt Isobel Mowbray, a philosopher and scientist, is put on trial and burned at the stake for her progressive ideas. Thirteen-year-old Jennet and her younger brother, Dunstan, immigrate with their now-infamous father to Massachusetts, where Walter (disgraced in England for executing his propertied sister-in-law) puts his "witchfinding" expertise into savage overdrive at the Salem witch trials. Abducted in a raid, Jennet spends seven years captive to the Algonquin Nimacook, until she's freed by and married to Boston postmaster Tobias Crompton. Years later, after a divorce (!), she becomes smitten (and enlightened) by a young Benjamin Franklin. For a metafictional touch to this intrepid, impeccably researched epic (after Blameless in Abaddon), Newton's Principia Mathematica speaks intermittently, its jaunty historical and critical commentary knitted cleverly into the narrative. This tour-de-force of early America bears a buoyant humor to lighten its macabre load. (Mar.)
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