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"A hauntingly beautiful––and imagined––origin story to The Scarlet Letter." ––People
WHO IS THE REAL HESTER PRYNNE?
Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s with her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Glasgow for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they've arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic––leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.
When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows––while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward's safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller; the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which?
In this sensuous and hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples with our country's complicated past, and learns that America's ideas of freedom and liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven with Isobel and Nathaniel's story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a "real" American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England, and atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of "unusual" women being accused of witchcraft. Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Laurie Lico Albanese's Hester is a timeless tale of art, ambition, and desire that examines the roots of female creative power and the men who try to shut it down.
Albanese (Stolen Beauty) imagines in her standout historical the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter. Her proxy for Hester Prynne is Isobel Gamble, a skilled seamstress who has synesthesia and left her native Scotland for the U.S. in 1829 after her apothecary husband Edward's addiction to opium sent them to the poorhouse. Isobel's father paid their way out, and the couple took passage onboard a ship bound for America. Once stymied in her ability to express herself creatively, in Salem she uses her talents with needle and thread. She has a chance encounter with writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, recognizing in him a kindred spirit yearning for freedom, a spirit that moves Isobel to risk her life to protect people fleeing slavery. Later, her independent-mindedness leads to suspicions of adultery. Albanese describes Isobel's synesthesia brilliantly, such as in this memory of her cousins in a Scotland valley: "Their voices rise up in vibrant wisps of yellow and gold. The wind was sometimes fierce pink, and the sound of the waterfall on rocks glinted silver." Even those unfamiliar with the classic will be hooked by this account of a capable woman standing up to the sexist and racial prejudices of her time.
Another captivating and beautifully woven intricate complex and dynamics of community/peers
It’s not one bit surprising to me that once again Albanese has flawlessly, meticulously and authentically wrote an incredible and beautiful story about Nathaniel Hawthorn, a mistress who was married and left in a new country alone when her husband took to a sea voyage in which she’d developed a deep connection attraction and quite fantastical ending for them and when she finds herself in an extremely improper, unacceptable and illegal in the Salem area of Massachusetts as all those old colonialists whose families had taken their claim on the land and became exorbitantantly successful an extraordinarily wealthy off their inhumane use of slavery and while slavery had since been outlawed, just as the Salem Witch deliverance had long passed but it was also true that one’s belief systems and the values they grew up believing to be of no consequence or wrongdoing on their part, it was also to be expected they still harbor that indifference and nonchalant attitude regarding their participation and grossed wealth was undoubtedly hugely beneficial in all respects of their lives and those many generations to come. These Hawrhorns, Silas’ and Mannings were all direct descendent from the most greedy, the most abusive negligent and cruelties they’d regularly project onto their vast numbers of people who’d been forced into unpaid labors. Stolen from their motherlands separate from their families and were stripped of humanity. This was an unforgivable and unforgettable murderous, brutally intimidating and repeatedly beating the Will the soul and the grace out of them all for the equal magnitude of LAZINESS AND CORRUPTED SOULS FULL OF GREED AND LORDING OVER THOSE LESS FORTUNATE OR EQUAL TO THE DUal.
Hester was such a witty endearing captivating and absolutely enchanting contemporary look into the life of Salem witch players and accused. The towns leading families and a different perspective into his relationship with the intriguing beguiling and exceptionally talented in her needle work and color combinations and the skill in which she has both the talent to draw as well as the eye viewed her subjects or areas. She was even more committed to making a success of herself in hopes of having her own shop one sya as her fashion forward and classic, feminine and unlike other dressmakers was in a league and clans of its own. Her ability to remain optimistic despite the hardships and losses she experienced very young and in life, she kept hold to her imagination and always fancied herself a bit of a whimsical and mystical magical believer as her special gift of color in the voices, the writing and the sounds she’d experienced were exceptionally prevalent from very young. She learns that it’s not safe to give away all of her strength and experiences of herself. It will and had usually been used to run women out of the CHRISTIAN AND PURITAN fueled places. Same ministry and men who were given position of power and had the privilege to ruin or save a life- it was an ugly theme and it continues currently in our social temperament and the gross transgressions and slanderous outing of those who’ve done no harm to the to intolerant and angry fueled violent and zero tolerant people who use CHRISTIANITY to excuse their prejudices and xenophobic racist biases and abuse