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The Afflicted Girls (Novel of Salem) Paperback – October 31, 2009
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A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
"A well-researched look at what led Salem to hysteria."--Erika Mailman, Author of "The Witch's Trinity"
"A page-turning twist of a tale. Highly recommended!"--Layers of Thought
Top Customer Reviews
My opinion is that it was heavy on the fiction (with inexplicably random, and unbelievable, sex thrown in, I suppose to make it all more interesting?) and very, very light on the history. I finished the book thinking there'd be an epihany (on my part) at the end, but no. I was disappointed. No "startling new theories," no "300-year-old mysteries put to rest," and I certainly didn't feel "expertly guided" as the description promised.
It is my belief that any historical novel must be subjected to two questions in a review - first, is the material historically accurate, and second, is the material pleasant and engaging to read.
In answer to the first question, as an avid student of the Salem witch trials, I can say that "The Afflicted Girls" is the least historically-accurate Salem artifact I have encountered. Much of the novel feels like a very loose re-write of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" - popular antagonist Abigail Williams is again given an age upgrade from her historical 11 years of age to a sexually tantalizing 16 years of age so that she can feel up men, rape young boys, and have masturbatory fantasies about her uncle Parris. Major societal details have been changed - far too many of the characters are literate as a plot-device, and pretty much all of the Puritan girls running around Salem are sexually active and without a single thought to accidental pregnancy (some brief mention is made of birth control herbs).
As for the trials, the actual details of the trials have been totally rewritten. The order in which the accused were arrested, tried, and executed is arbitrarily changed. One of the accusing girls - protagonist Mercy Lewis - never actually testifies in court, and her role as accuser, and then accused, and then accuser again is completely rewritten. Several people who were either executed or left in prison until finally bonded out at the end of the trials have now been rescued in a completely narrative-breaking adventure jail-break sequence. This isn't even to mention that the entire novel only covers the events up to and including the first, initial set of hangings - barely a fraction of the Salem story.Read more ›
How could this madness be triggered by the wild accusations of children and adolescents? Oh, so easily. There's always someone who has something to gain...
The author has spun a terrifying tale, drawing us deftly into the minds and hearts of the major characters. Her story makes sense. It could have happened much that way...and it could happen again.
This is not a book for the precious and delicately sensitive. But it is a good read for anyone who can bring an open mind to it, and has a sound grasp of the way society actually functioned at the end of the 17th century. Thoughtless brutality and smug hypocrisy existed--whether you like to read about it or not.
The story was well told and had interesting twists. (Although I was a bit irked by the misrepresentation of Bridget Bishop, especially as I spent so much time in my book correcting the record about her. But mistakes about Bishop are common in a lot of books about Salem.)
I really enjoyed reading the book, even though I would not have otherwise picked it up. It would make a great gift, especially for a girlfriend or any woman interested in this sort of thing. I would not recommend this book to younger children due to some of the more graphic scenes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You will appreciate your Country more when you read this one...Published 18 months ago by John Leahy
Imagine a town carved out of wilderness nearly four hundred years ago by a small group of settlers. The leaders who ruled this colony were guided by the Bible and English law, and... Read morePublished on July 25, 2012 by Jo Ann Butler
Very well developed characters, very believable plot line. Fascinating subject matter, obviously well researched and contemplated. Read morePublished on June 25, 2012 by soul329
From the very first sentence, this historical novel is not very historical. If Ms. Witten had ever been to New England, she would know that even in the 21st Century, many places... Read morePublished on September 30, 2011 by FMW
The Afflicted Girls by Suzy Witten is a story of the notorious witch trials, accusations, arrests, and ultimate hangings, in Salem, Connecticut. Read morePublished on March 2, 2011 by Jim Duggins, Ph.D.
"The Afflicted Girls" manages to capture the essence of life in a seventeenth century Puritan village where religion, superstition, and base human desires culminate in the... Read morePublished on January 26, 2011 by Phyllis Deroian
Just finished reading, "The Afflicted Girls." I enjoyed this novel and felt as though I stepped back in time and was given the opportunity to vicariously experience and understand... Read morePublished on January 18, 2011 by Lili Berko, PhD
What most impresses me about Suzy Witten's novel (and it's NOT presented as straight 'history', is it? That's a decidely different discipline) is the research. Read morePublished on April 10, 2010 by reader down under