This is historical fiction at its best. Set in 1662, and Mary, a 24-year-old woman living in the world of the Boston Puritans, is barren. She has not given birth and is therefore not doing her duty. When she meets a young man, she dreams of a life with him rather than her aged, abusive husband. Not only does she dream of a satisfactory sex life, but she also decides to divorce her husband after he stabs her with “the devils tines”, what we now call forks. She is not successful in her divorce attempt and rather finds herself the subject of gossip about her being a witch and then fighting for her life in a trial accusing her of witchcraft. Bohjalian’s research has helped him form the world of a woman who fails to see life as the Puritans wished. She is determined, independent and able to think for herself, all attributes not wanted by the men who run the Puritan world. At times, I felt history is repeating itself. Not in the witchcraft trials, but by the way conservative thinkers are suspicious of anything that challenges them or introduces new idea that threaten their leadership and power.

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