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1692 – Massachusetts
She began life as the bastard child of a prosperous landowner and his indentured servant. Now her stepmother despises the girl and views her as cursed by God.
For Mehitabel Braybrooke, life in Puritan New England becomes unbearable when her orphan cousin arrives to live with her family. Jealousy and lies result in Mehitabel being “sent out” as a servant to a neighbor’s home. There, foolishness and bad judgment lead her to commit the unspeakable: Mehitabel commits crimes that warrant a death sentence: not once, but twice — the first time for arson, the second for witchcraft.
Rich in historical detail, In the Shadow of Salem is a fascinating portrayal of a real historical Puritan woman. The history records have not been kind to Mehitabel, but what was the real story behind her scurrilous reputation? Would she ever be redeemed from her lifelong curse? Or was Mehitabel as wicked as the Essex Court Records suggest?
1692 – Caribbean
Living in a city deemed the wickedest in the world is no easy task for Miss Juliana Dutton. To make matters worse, with an ailing father and a drunken fool for a brother, she is forced to take over the running of the family business in order to survive. When a nosey suitor threatens everything, she spurns him and instead becomes engaged to the town idiot, Lord Munthrope. But is he an idiot? The more her problems push her closer to the man, the more she realizes he is not who he seems. Alexander Hyde, the Pirate Earl, is the most feared pirate in the Caribbean—feared, successful, wealthy, handsome, and bored, so terribly bored. When an unexpected event allows him to get close to Juliana, a woman he has loved from afar for years, he takes it. But leading a double life causes more problems than it’s worth. A restless crew and a long-time enemy out to capture and hang Alex, put Juliana in grave danger. As tremors rock the city of Port Royal, Juliana’s faith in God is equally shaken. Not only have things gotten worse, but she is confused by her feelings for both Munthrope and the Pirate Earl. Deception, intrigue, mutiny, death, betrayal, all attempt to tear the lovers apart. But the final blow comes when a massive earthquake strikes the city and threatens to sink it into the sea.
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1693 – Massachusetts
It has been nearly a year since Susanna Jameson’s beloved grandmother, Susanna North Martin, though innocent, was hung as a witch. Mrs. Martin’s namesake, despairing over the loss, is having a crisis of faith. Hoping to lift her daughter’s spirits, Susanna’s mother convinces her to visit their friend, Madeline Osgood. Upon Susanna’s arrival, she makes the acquaintance of her elderly friend’s handsome neighbor and business partner, William Gage. While surveying the beautiful young woman, he is immediately captivated. Soon the pair’s interest in each other grows. However, through no fault of his own, Mr. Gage finds himself concealing a terrible secret. An acquaintance, who is also attracted to Susanna, if given an opportunity, would eagerly reveal that secret. What will happen? Will the rival disclose William’s secret in order to win Susanna for himself? Will she be inspired by Madeline’s unshakable faith to rekindle her own?
The Shape of Mercy
1690s and Present Day – Massachusetts and California
Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.
Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.
The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?