Monday, June 2, 2014

HFVBT: Peni Jo Renner's Puritan Witch - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts 
I have been lucky in my historical fiction reading lately, as I've been privileged to read fictional accounts of two subjects I have always been fascinated with. One being ancient Egypt and in the case of this book, the Salem Witch trials.

Puritan Witch is based on the true story of Rebecca Eames, who experienced the trials as one of the accused. The author is a descendant, Rebecca being her ninth great-grandmother. The story is told from Rebecca's point of view and has an authentic biographical tone. One could almost believe that it was an actual written account from Rebecca's own hand.

The horrors experienced by the people accused in the trials are almost beyond belief. And anyone could be accused on a whim. If you had a vendetta with a neighbor, you could just accuse them of witchcraft. It really was mass hysteria. That's the only way I can describe it. The author tells the story vividly and so the reader really feels what Rebecca went through. The deplorable conditions in the 'dungeon', as they called it, and the shocking humiliation of the physical examination in front of all, including the shaving of the hair on the head and pubis, was almost too much to bare. One cannot read such a book without a heavy heart.

This time in our history is one that all Americans should regret. It is something that should never have happened, but it did. Books like Puritan Witch are important because they remind us of a terrible history that should never be repeated. If you are interested in the history of the Salem trials or American history in general, this is a book you should definitely read.

About the book
 Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Paperback

On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.

Praise for Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames
“Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a story of the fear, suspicion, and accusations as they permeate the surrounding communities. The narration was exquisite, really painting a picture in my head and bringing to life the language of the Puritans much better than it usually is done. I loved that it was based on a true story and that the story really expands on a piece of the darkest of American history. Such a cool read!” – Katelyn Hensel, Readers’ Favorite

“Elegantly written, meticulously researched, and historically accurate, the author’s work rings true. … Renner’s vast talent as a writer is enhanced by the fact that she’s telling the story of her own family, completely captivating from beginning to end.” – Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman

“In the colonial-era tale Puritan Witch, the plight of Rebecca Eames and her family plays out against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing periods in American history.” – Julie Castillo, writer and editor

Buy the Book
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About the author
Peni Renner is the author of “Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames”, an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni’s 9th greatgrandmother. The book is Renner’s first published work, and follows Eames’ life and struggles in 1692 Massachussetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts.

After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk.

I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to.

For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #PuritanWitchTour #PeniJoRenner #VirtualBookTour
Twitter: @PeniJoRenner @hfvbt

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Puritan Witch by Peni Jo Renner! (Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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  1. I'm not a descendent of anyone involved in the witch trials, but I am a descendent of Samuel Skelton (1584?-1634) who founded the first church in Salem. He was long gone by the time of the trials.

  2. no, but that would be very cool.

  3. I'm not related to anyone from Salem. I have relatives are American Indians. I would love to know more about them but my great grand mother died giving birth. We have no information about her side of the family.

  4. No I´m not jejeje ... thanks for the giveaway! :)

  5. Elysium BookramblingsJune 3, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    no, I don't think I have any American ancestors.

  6. All of my ancestors did not come to the US until the late 1800's so none were involved in the Salem Witch trials. It would be fascinating to talk to someone who had ancestors that lived in Salem during that time.

  7. No, I'm not descended from any. I would be fascinating, if I were.

  8. No, I'm not descended from any.
    Thank you for the give away.

  9. I´m not descended from any :S

  10. No, no one I know from that area...but love anything related to the trials...thanks for the giveaway Michelle!!

  11. I really enjoyed reading this. We all know about the Salem witch trials and this really brought them to life for me in a different, more personal way than anything I have ever read before on the subject. Well written and the flow of the story made it hard to put down.

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