Hour of the Witch
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Main Narrator: Grace Experience
Published: May 4, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 8-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in The New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary – a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony – soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight not only to escape her marriage, but also the gallows.
A twisting, tightly-plotted thriller from one of our greatest storytellers, ‘HOUR OF THE WITCH’ is a timely and terrifying novel of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.
Unlike Bohjalian’s 2018 novel and more recent tv series The Flight Attendant (my review of the novel is here) which is a thriller, Hour of the Witch is Historical Fiction. It takes place in Boston in 1662, and our main character is Mary Deerfield. She is the second wife to Thomas Deerfield who is twice her age, with an adult daughter close to Mary’s age. In a time where women were subservient to men, Mary decides to petition for divorce from Thomas after an incident of domestic abuse towards her. This novel circles around the impeding proceedings for her divorce petition, but also causes other events to occur where Mary will have to fight for her life.
It is apparent that Bohjalian meticulously researched while writing this novel. As the listener of the audiobook version, I really felt like I was in that time period where it was very dangerous to be a woman suspected of witchcraft. It was not a good time to be a woman with the thoughts that women were ‘weak’, needed to be taken care of, and expected to marry then have children or face the thought of ‘being barren’. Bohjalian even wrote the novel in the language of the time, so the characters say thee, thou, make haste, and more throughout. I am thankful I listened to the audiobook because of this, I think I might have had issues if I had read the novel. The audiobook had a very well-done cast narration with Grace Experience being Mary Deerfield’s voice.
We do get answers to all of the presented questions by the end of the novel in a satisfying conclusion. Mary was very much ahead of her time with her bravery facing all that she did.
I was not sure what to expect with this novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will also be reading more of Bohjalian’s novels.
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published: October 19, 1953
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Holy cow. This is the most terrifying read since 1984! Bradbury understands humanity like Orwell and Golding do. He’s not afraid to show man in his most gritty and ugly and realistic. Fahrenheit 451 is one that every high school student should be required to read before graduating. I spend the entire book either reading quotes aloud to Ivan or underlining every page. It’s actually easier to read than Lord of the Flies and 1984 and just as poignant. It should be experienced so if you haven’t read it, go do it right now!
Author: Joe Hill
Published: April 30, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
First Joe Hill book … worth it! As soon as I read the description, I was hooked. And he had me almost the whole time. The only reason I took away a star is because he unfortunately falls into the same flaw as his father, sometimes he just drew out the story when it should have been condensed. However, I still really enjoyed this book! I liked his timeline within the story. I loved the characters! There was a lot of growth and emotions. I didn’t know how it was going to end, but when the end came, I loved it. There were so many scary elements that kept me on edge. The mystical, metaphorical elements, I actually got most of them! I feel like I understood the story and I don’t always say that with these ambiguous plots. I really liked this book a lot. It kept me engaged (most of the time), I cared about the characters, and I understood it! I can’t wait to read more Joe Hill!