by Devin O'Branagan
Publisher: Pocket Books ??
Page Count: 352
Release Date: October 1, 1990 (first one)
How got: personal buy; via Amazon
First attention getter: synopsis
Leigh has been married to a Hawthorne for a decade, but never knew the family secret: the Hawthornes are witches. When the dynamic Preacher Cody instigates a new worldwide witch hunt, Leigh must choose sides. Will she stand with her husband and children, or will she run? This isn't the first witch hunt the Hawthornes have faced, but it could be their last. Will anyone survive?
Star Rating - 5
I’ve had this book on my to-read list for a while, years even. I can’t recall how long it’s been sitting on my Kindle, but needless to say it’s been on my radar for a long time. I love the idea of family sagas that entail blessings or curses that follow the generations; this one also entailed the Salem Witch trials with all the drama and persecution that involves. This book please on all fronts. I feel I’m safe to say it’s one of best reads for me this year.
Engrossing as heck, this book grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. From the opening sequence of a fiery plane crash, everything is a break neck speed of worsening persecution and a family’s struggles to come out alive, not succeeding on all fronts. Boredom will not be an issue with this one.
Yet despite all that, every character comes alive. From the historical figures of the Hawthorne family to their modern counterparts, nobody suffers from two-dimensional characterization. I liked how the author made people on both sides of the divide (witch vs. Christian) both good and bad. There was no blanket generalization of either side being more right than the other.
I thought this was a tale in the modern world with some harkening back to the Salem Witch trials. Instead, I got a family saga that flows over centuries. Traveling west via covered wagon, Indian captivity, WWII, and Irish immigration all play a role in this family saga. Family fortunes rise and fall with the centuries, never letting members get too comfortable before throwing the next challenge down.
I’ve got to give props to the author for where she was willing to go. This family goes through some truly awful events: murder, sudden death, torture, and persecution. Things start out grim, get worse, and end bleak. There’s no happily ever after here, folks. There’s a slight glimmer that things might turn around eventually, but it’ll be a long, uncertain road indeed.
The messages in this book also give pause for thought. The author talks about her inspiration for the tale in the beginning, and I can see where she’s coming from. In our modern world, the thought that such fundamentalist hate can rule the day seems far-fetched, given how society celebrates diversity nowadays. The thought that our modern society would believe in the evil of witchcraft and black magic also seems implausible.
However, all one has to do is look across the glove at such examples as ISIS, the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or the Westboro church to see true evil at work. Organizations or bodies such as these control the minds and perceptions of adherents to a brain-washing level. Is it really so incredible that given the circumstances portrayed in this book that thought patterns like that might not gain more of a mainstream audience and body of people? Scary stuff…
A tale heavy with lessons to take to heart and characters to love, this book will stay with you for a long time. I was caught from scene one and was never let go. This book started me on a witch kick; I’ll be looking for more books on the subject matter and re-reading older loved ones. The collection of novellas that explores the lives of miscellaneous historical figures in the Hawthorne clan is already loaded on my Kindle. Check this one out; it’s a fantastic read no matter the genre you’re looking for.