NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the acclaimed author of The Flight Attendant: “Historical fiction at its best…. The book is a thriller in structure, and a real page-turner, the ending both unexpected and satisfying” (Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series, The Washington Post).
A young Puritan woman—faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul—plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense.
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 becomes 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 to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows.
A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.
Look for Chris Bohjalian's new novel, The Lioness!
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Come for Chris Bohjalian’s rich and engrossing historical fiction; stay for the edge-of-your-seat suspense. It’s 1662 Boston, and Mary Deerfield wants to divorce her abusive husband. But that’s no easy task. She not only bumps up against patriarchal Puritan values but has to defend herself against actual charges of witchcraft—which were no joke in 17th-century New England! From the cutlery to the clothing, Bohjalian uses meticulous period details to create a real and transporting vibe. Even more impressively, he really gets us into his characters’ heads, giving us a clear sense of the way this 1600s community thought and spoke through his incredible, poetic dialogue. With Mary’s life on the line, Hour of the Witch is both a nail-biting thriller and a chilling reminder that the struggles of the #MeToo era have roots that reach back centuries.
Mary Deerfield, the indomitable, 24-year-old protagonist of this twisty thriller set in 17th-century Boston from bestseller Bohjalian (The Red Lotus), has been married for five years to Thomas, a well-to-do widower almost twice her age, whose abusiveness has escalated with her failure to become pregnant. In bed with her brutish, frequently drunk husband, Mary fantasizes about how different life might be with someone like seductive bachelor Henry Simmons, whom she meets when he pulls her out of the way of an oxcart that threatens to run her down. Gossip soon grows about the pair, at the same time Mary discovers items buried in her garden associated with witchcraft. Then Thomas's most violent assault yet propels Mary to petition for divorce, a step she knows will bring dangerous scrutiny from a populace primed to spy the devil's hand everywhere. Chapter-prefacing snippets from testimony at Mary's future court appearances fan suspense, but also make her painful journey there seem at times excruciatingly slow. With its exploration of themes including domestic abuse, toxic masculinity, and mass hysteria, the novel feels like anything but a period piece. Bohjalian fans and newcomers alike will be satisfied.
Hour of the Witch
I really liked this book. I felt that I learned a lot about life in America in the late 1600’s.
Another exhilarating book by Chris Bohjalian
When this was first released, I had been looking forward to purchasing it so I could immerse myself into the lives of his creation. His characters are so dynamic, complex and regardless of the many differences between myself and their circumstances, the time they existed in and in many scenarios I couldn’t relate to their experiences nor to their way of life, there’s something so very human and easily identifiable about his characters, making our differences irrelevant. Recognizing the similarities between myself, the era I have lived through and despite the centuries between myself and the main characters in this novel, I could still feel so much compassion, empathy and often shared their grief and loss as it were my own. Chris has an innate sense of human connection between those in his stories and that’s what makes it so special for his readers when they invest themselves into his creativity, talented prose and uncontested narrative with guaranteed explosive climactic moments. Some writers can sweep their readers up and they take them along for the most sensational time of their life. His genuine and humble scenes play out before the reader with such realistic and compelling themes that one becomes conflicted towards the end. The need to know how the story ends and if your beloved characters fare well or did they meet an unfortunate fate always wins out over any attempts to stall the ending and prolong the storyline for we know all too well that the lives and the reverie they have given us an unfiltered and unforgettable front row seat and beckoned us to join their journey as we immediately did. It’s fair to say that after the last word has been read, I am met with a heaviness and also left in deep wonder and emotions so many full of fondness and respect yet reality is prominent in the forefront of my deep thoughts as I allow myself to look back on the favorite and most profound and impactful moments while I experience all those emotions again and feel such a great admiration and gratitude towards the author for giving me such a gift and a retreat into his beautifully crafted world while taking a break from my own for awhile. To have such a magical and sense of wonder whilst immersed within a work of art, is such a wonderful gift and one cannot help but feel it’s mystique, that ability and talent to create something from the inner recesses of one’s mind and another can fully embrace the magical beauty and the surreal power in which they live THROUGH each and every moment every person inside this fictional world will feel and those like myself know not to take that particularly profound and personal pleasure for granted and to savor the plot and narrative as it is reaching its final destination. I often think about the journey and r those who were on it and allowed me along for their adventures long after the last page has been read and I’m able to look back with fondness, gratitude and reverence. I only wish I am granted the same opportunity and rare kind of experience again and until then I am happy to read books that are enjoyable and interesting yet I look out for those books in which I can truly become one with those it was meant to describe and who’s lives it’s made immortal by giving their singular existences meaning and ensuring we protect these written words so they may one day he enjoyed by another. Never did we imagine that those who’d find these sagas would come from 3000 yrs in future but we have been faithfully waiting for the day and we’ve got them to safety where there’s instructions these too must be left to find some comfort and security inside it’s branches of the most majestic TREE ever eyes have fallen upon and seeing their majestic beauty and power of their knowledge and the wisdom it is clear they represent, we’d come to believe our place was here to guard this forest and kill the little sugary junk behing forest and it’s giants of this forest. To protect the forest if I’m not there I am leaving around 3 to do what we didn’t finish tonight. I didn’t do what I’d been bent on doing so I was hoping you’d come and be part of my circle and I be part of yours ❤️❤️
I’d like to think this is how the elder druids oft taught our youngest to address’s those who’d lived thousands of years and who can learn the most from history and past mistakes and lessons learned than one could ever learn from a speaker or being spoken with
This place will take a great deal of getting used to-
I know I’d embrace this world if not for a respite from the animosity and apathy happening in our own or if to have the experience of what it’s like to ascend and be enlightened. I will listen to Gary and A and showcase the vase and flowers. I’m silently supporting those who’s imaginations, meditations, creative journeys, time travelers we must go and try to make it out of herb alone!! Go
The characters were interesting and intense. The story of early Boston engaging and shocking but I could not put the book down!