by Megan Chase A Novel of Salem
Category: Fiction / General
402 pages; ISBN: 0446529532
Rating: 6/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
A New Lesson on Old Prejudices
Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, columnist for the Pasadena Star News and author of “This is the Place” and “Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered”
There is a new, young author in town writing serious, readable novels. At least her first is and that is a promise of more to come.
“Susannah Morrow,” by Megan Chance is a self-proclaimed “Novel of Salem.”
It is the story of a fictional characters set in the history of Salem, Massachusetts in the 1600s. The witch hunts are not pretty. They may, however, speak to us several hundred years after a radical and closed society made them part of our heritage.
This story is told from the viewpoints of three different family members. We see a deluded sixteen-year-old plagued by guilt for her indiscretions, her father, Lucas Fowler, who is trying to be a good man but is caught up in mass hysteria, and her aunt who has brought not only her own physical beauty to town but an independence not frequently seen in either men or women in these times.
Sometimes I found both modern motivation and reasoning lacking in this novel and that was troubling. Then I stopped to reflect that it was not the fault of the author but of the subject matter. I also began to wonder if there really is that much of a difference between these characters’ actions and much of what we see in the world today. This story is part of our own history. Is what we see there really so different from what we are witnessing in our own world and even our own time?
Perhaps, then, this book is one that is right for this time and this place. Perhaps it is one that will not only entertain but remind us how important it is to guard our separation of church and state, our right to independent thought.
(Carolyn Howard-Johnson is also the author of books that explore prejudice and how it affects society. Learn more about "Harkening" and This is the Place" at: http://www.TLT.com/authors/carolynhowardjohnson.htm.)