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Children of Salem: Love Amid the Witch Trials Kindle Edition
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I, like others, have always heard of the Salem witch trials but have never known much about them. Somehow I had understood that the accused witches were burned but as the book pointed out, only one was ever burned and she was also accused of burning the home and killing the family which owned her (she was a slave). The rest were hanged, most of them at Salem. For me this was a riveting story. Well, maybe more chilling than riveting. I was constantly wondering where this would end, fearing the worst but hoping for the best. All this when I had a pretty good idea that it would end, and end in infamy. But I was truly afraid. I felt I was thrust into the terrifying situation rather than just being told about it. I would give this book two thumbs up but that's copyrighted so I'll give it 4 stars, or 5 if that is allowed. Can that be copyrighted as well? Well, let just say that I HIGHLY recommend it.
The story moves well, from beginning to end though as in this and others of Walker's books, the last 50 pages or so I simply could not put it down. Consequently I am writing this on very little sleep. I'm a fan of well researched historical fiction and this certainly fills the bill. So I would strongly say, good job and suggest all my fellow historical fiction fans to grab this one.
Other contributing factors could be mentioned. There was an outbreak of ergot, or diseased rye, the common bread source, that was hallucinogenic, in Essex County at that time. And, coming after King Philip's War and the continued fighting in what became Maine, some folks who resettled in peaceful Salem might have experienced PTSD just as surely as returning veterans now from Iraq or Afghanistan.
But the sinews of the actual events are adhered to in Walker's book, with solid research. It really did end with the accusations against the wife of Governor Phipps. (And while he played an ignoble role, Cotton Mather redeemed much of his reputation later on by bravely calling for innoculations against smallpox, which saved many more lives than those lost here in 1692.)
It is a gripping story, here very well told. Five stars ... need I say, a Pentagram for Mr. Walker's efforts?
I was disappointed.
I won't to into too much detail about the plot. Jeremy Wakely is sent from Boston to look into the questionable practices of a puritan minister in Salem, Mass. Jeremy has a history in Salem and is reluctant to go back but he does so out of honor...and because of a girl. Jeremy is thrust neck deep into the mystery and lunacy that was the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century.
The Salem Witch Trials was one of the darkest and most interesting periods in American history. With that as a backdrop, I was very much looking forward to tearing my way through this book.
It's not that Walker's a bad writer. The historical aspects are well covered and he does give the reader a good sense of how it was for people living in that area of the country at that time in history.
No, the main problem with this book is the pacing. It's S-L-O-W. It says it's a little over 400 pages but it certainly feels longer than that. The book is filled with frequent drawn out conversations where the participants seem to be reiterating the same things over and over again. Frankly, it spoiled my enjoyment of the book.
I'm not an instant gratification type of reader. I don't mind a nice build up to a big reveal or a good ending but sometimes I felt it was a chore to get through the conversations to see what the next development in the story was.
The love angle between Jeremy and Serena didn't seem to 'pop', that's the best way I can think to describe it. I think it's partially because many of the characters just seemed to read the same way. With a few standouts, most of the characters seemed to speak the same exact way and had the same type of personalities.
I don't mean to bash it. I'm sure this novel couldn't have been easy to write, especially considering the historical aspect of it. It just left me feeling a little let down.
I didn't think it was bad, I didn't think it was great either. I give it a solid 'okay'.
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