Saturday, August 20, 2016
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Publication Date: October 29, 2015
Lady Slipper Press
eBook & Paperback; 358 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Alice, a young woman prone to intuitive insights and loyalty to the only family she has ever known, leaves England for the rigid colony of the Massachusetts Bay in 1635 in hopes of reuniting with them again. Finally settling in Windsor, Connecticut, she encounters the rich American wilderness and its inhabitants, her own healing abilities, and the blinding fears of Puritan leaders which collide and set the stage for America’s first witch hanging, her own, on May 26, 1647.
This event and Alice’s ties to her beloved family are catalysts that influence Connecticut’s Governor John Winthrop Jr. to halt witchcraft hangings in much later years.
Paradoxically, these same ties and the memory of the incidents that led to her accusation become a secret and destructive force behind Cotton Mather’s written commentary on the Salem witch trials of 1692, provoking further witchcraft hysteria in Massachusetts forty-five years after her death.
The author uses extensive historical research combined with literary inventions, to bring forth a shocking and passionate narrative theory explaining this tragic and important episode in American history and in the life of Alice (Alse) Young, America’s first witch hanging victim.
“The best work of research-based historical fiction about the New England witchcraft trials to date, unearthing a little-known case with rich detail and skill.” – Lisa Johnson, Executive Director, Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington, CT
“Caruso went deep into the archival sources to determine who the real Alice might have been and using detective-like skill revealed the probable story of Alice Young’s life. There are layers of mystery here, and as each gradually unfolds, the reader is treated not only to a richly imagined fictional world but to a well researched historical one.” – Katherine Hermes Ph.D, Chair, Dept. of History, Central Connecticut State University
Author Beth M. Caruso grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent her childhood writing puppet shows and witches’ cookbooks. She became interested in French Literature and Hispanic Studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She later obtained Masters degrees in Nursing and Public Health.
Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, she helped to improve the public health of local Karen hill tribes. She also had the privilege to care for hundreds of babies and their mothers as a labor and delivery nurse. Largely influenced by an apprenticeship with herbalist and wildcrafter, Will Endres, in North Carolina, she surrounds herself with plants through gardening and native species conservation.
Her latest passion is to discover and convey important stories of women in American history. One of Windsor is her debut novel. She lives in New England with her awesome husband, amazing children, loyal puppy, and cuddly cats.