The best books about Salem

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Salem and why they recommend each book.

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The House of the Seven Gables

By Nathaniel Hawthorne,

Book cover of The House of the Seven Gables

I love this book because I’ve stood inside the house that inspired this tale, owned by Hawthorne’s cousin Susan Ingersoll, and I learned of the history associated with the story and why he wrote it. But beyond these fascinating details, Hawthorne’s knack for layering symbolism throughout his work really speaks to me. I love to do this when I write because the subconscious mind picks up these details even when we consciously may not realize it. This is part of evoking the mood essential for creating a foreboding environment.

The House of the Seven Gables

By Nathaniel Hawthorne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House of the Seven Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I’m fascinated by the mind-body-spirit’s impact on our human experience. Especially the aspect of mind, because deep within us resides the shadow-self described by Carl Jung. Most of us spend our lives hiding this part, but it’s there, waiting to pounce. These are the stories I tell, and with my background in Health and Wellness and in Creative Writing, I write paranormal, supernatural, and horror stories containing the simple truths about our human experience. All are designed to bring out the shadow lurking within and expose it to the light. As a counterpoint to these dark tales, I write evocative poetry, uplifting children’s stories, and some educational books with my writing partner, Derek R. King.  


I wrote...

The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy and Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium

By Julie Kusma,

Book cover of The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy and Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium

What is my book about?

Oakwood Sanatorium blurs the lines of psychosis and reality—science and spirituality when Dr. Shepard Blanchard finds himself investigating the strange events surrounding an unconscious man abandoned in the hospital’s lobby. 

This psychological thriller’s unique postmodern collage-style creates a foreboding atmosphere as the patients sharing the man’s assigned ward are evaluated. The psychological horror and suspense enhanced with the admission forms, patients’ stories, and doctor’s notes. From beginning to end, your sanity is on the edge of oblivion, and your senses are pricked and prodded with science fiction, alternate realities, and unexpected outcomes. The many twists and turns leave you unnerved and wondering what comes next. In the end, Blanchard questions his decisions, and ultimately, he finds himself secluded in his own dark reality.

Book cover of The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne

I recommend this book because Nathaniel Hawthorne is my favorite author, a historical figure whose connections to his birthplace of Salem, Massachusetts influenced his religion, his politics, his writing and haunted him through life. His cousin Susannah Ingersoll lived in the House of the Seven Gables, my favorite house in the world, Salem’s most famous landmark, and the subject of Hawthorne’s most famous novel. I have always been fascinated with the Salem witch trials, and know that Hawthorne’s great-great-grandfather “Hanging” Judge John Hathorne condemned 19 innocent people to death on false accusations of witchcraft. Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his name to distance himself from his notorious ancestor. You will learn about how he met his wife, Sophia Peabody, also a Salem native, and how she inspired him. It helped me understand Nathaniel as a person as well as a famous author, and further inspired me to write my novel.  

The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne

By Margaret B. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although most writers on Nathaniel Hawthorne touch on the importance of Salem, Massachusetts, to his life and career, no detailed study has been published on the powerful heritage bequeathed to him by his ancestors and present to him during his years in that town. In The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret B. Moore thoroughly investigates Hawthorne's family, his education before college (about which almost nothing has been known), and Salem's religious and political influences on him. She details what Salem had to offer Hawthorne in the way of entertainment and stimulation, discusses his friends and acquaintances, and examines the…

Who am I?

I write historical and biographical novels, and have had a fascination with the Salem witch trials since childhood. With my first visit to Salem, I felt a strong connection to my surroundings and its history. When I walked through the House of the Seven Gables for the first time, I felt I’d been there before. Three past-life regressions brought me back to 17th century Salem. In my biographical novel For The Love Of Hawthorne, I delved deeply into the soul of my favorite author, his devoted wife, and the shame his family suffered at the hand of his ancestor Judge Hathorne. The story came from my heart, as I lived their story along with them. 


I wrote...

For The Love Of Hawthorne

By Diana Rubino,

Book cover of For The Love Of Hawthorne

What is my book about?

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s courtship of Sophia Peabody lasted three years because he insisted on keeping it secret. But she knew they were destined for each other. When they married in 1842 “we became Adam and Eve in our Garden of Even” she wrote in her journal. But not all was paradise in their Eden—Nathaniel bore a burden that plagued his family since 1692. His ancestor Judge Hathorne condemned nineteen innocent victims to death during the Salem witch trials. His heinous deeds brought shame and guilt upon the family. In her last moments on earth, Sarah Good cursed the judge and his descendants from the hanging tree. Nathaniel’s belief in this curse haunted him until Sophia made it her quest to save him. 

Young Men and the Sea

By Daniel Vickers, Vince Walsh,

Book cover of Young Men and the Sea: Yankee Seafarers in the Age of Sail

The sea figured prominently in early American life.  Westward expansion is a dominant theme in American history, but as historian Daniel Vickers demonstrates, the horizon extended in all directions. For those who lived along the Atlantic coast, it was the East — and the Atlantic Ocean — that beckoned. In Young Men and the Sea, seafaring is a normal part of life. Drawing on the records of thousands of mariners sailing from Salem, Massachusetts, Vickers offers a fascinating social history of early American seafaring.  In what sort of families were sailors raised? When did they go to sea?  What were their chances of death? Whom did they marry, and how did their wives operate households in their absence? This book is destined to become a classic of American social history.

Young Men and the Sea

By Daniel Vickers, Vince Walsh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Young Men and the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two centuries of American maritime history, in which the Atlantic Ocean remained the great frontier.

Two centuries of American maritime history, in which the Atlantic Ocean remained the great frontier Westward expansion has been the great narrative of the first two centuries of American history, but as historian Daniel Vickers demonstrates here, the horizon extended in all directions. For those who lived along the Atlantic coast, it was the East-and the Atlantic Ocean-that beckoned. While historical and fictional accounts have tended to stress the exceptional circumstances or psychological compulsions that drove men to sea, this book shows how normal a…

Who am I?

Since the publication of my first book in 1988, my emphasis has always been on history as “story.” That is, the stories of men and women in past centuries with whom we share a common humanity but who faced challenges very different from our own. My goal is to bring their stories to as wide an audience as possible. Whether they describe Newfoundland fisherman in the 17th-century North Atlantic, expatriate Irish men and women in 18th-century Bordeaux, or colonial New Yorkers defying British authority on the eve of the American Revolution, the common theme is the impact of trade and the sea on the lives of ordinary people.


I wrote...

Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York

By Thomas M. Truxes,

Book cover of Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York

What is my book about?

Defying Empire reveals the story of the bold New York City merchants who engaged in forbidden trade with the French enemy during the Seven Years’ War — together with the fate of the lone informer who dared challenge them. Ignoring British prohibitions designed to end North America’s wartime trade with the French, New York’s merchant elite conducted a thriving business in the French West Indies, insisting that their behavior was protected by long practice and British commercial law. But the government in London viewed it as treachery, and its subsequent efforts to discipline North American commerce inflamed the colonists. Through fast-moving events and unforgettable characters, historian Thomas M. Truxes brings eighteenth-century New York and the Atlantic world to life.

Book cover of The Once and Future Witches

Witches speaks eloquently, fiercely, and passionately to anyone who is seething with quiet and desperate fury, feeling lost and powerless in a world controlled by self-absorbed men who wield their corrupt version of “truth” like a weapon. It’s not just a story…it’s a paean, a prophecy, a polemic. It doesn’t tell a tale; it tattoos it on your soul. It’s about the absolute and terrifying joy of trust and faith, the unrelenting ferocity of love, and the implacable will anyone who’s ever been dismissed can wield when given even the faintest spark of inspiration and hope. Oh, and it also has witches and magic and history and mystery and heartache and wit and laughter and suspense and pain and healing, if you dig those sorts of things.

The Once and Future Witches

By Alix E. Harrow,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Once and Future Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Glorious . . . a tale that will sweep you away' Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Tiger

'A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women' Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when…


Who am I?

I made the mistake of reading Dracula as an eight-year-old (thanks, Mom and Dad, for paying attention to what I brought home from school book fairs). Beyond disrupting my sleep pattern, there were two significant consequences to this decision: 1) I became enthralled with the intersection of historical detail, mystery, and magic, an enchantment that continues to this day; and 2) I ultimately majored in English literature, with a concentration in Victorian literature. To my professors’ chagrin, I put that education to use in concocting my own historically-based magical mysteries (sorry, Dr. Steinitz). But hey—I’ve always got good recommendations in this milieu.


I wrote...

The Camelot Shadow: A Novel

By Sean Gibson,

Book cover of The Camelot Shadow: A Novel

What is my book about?

Lord Alfred Fitzwilliam spends his days caring for his terminally ill wife and losing himself in the dusty tomes that fill his library—until he receives a visit from a man representing a clandestine organization backed by Queen Victoria herself. The group seeks his aid in finding an Arthurian artifact that, legend holds, can cure its bearer of any disease. 

Following arcane clues from the gas-lit streets of London to the wilds of Scotland and deep into ancient catacombs in Italy, Alfred becomes enmeshed in a web of hidden agendas, secret societies, and ancient enchantments. Filled with unexpected twists, The Camelot Shadow will leave readers wrestling with an impossible question: what do you do with an object that could save the world…or destroy it?

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller,

Book cover of The Crucible

How do witch hunts start? How do they keep? Who keeps them churning until all parties involved are dizzy, and only the accusers are innocent?

A group of girls in 1692 are caught dancing around a fire in the woods, trying to conjure spirits or cast spells. They discover they can escape retribution by blaming the slave, Tituba, which starts a slew of false accusations. Whenever the so-called prosecution comes close to the truth, whenever evidence is about to expose the girlselaborate lie, they scream, fall to hysterics amidst befuddled men, as if some witch is tormenting them, and so point out a fresh victim for the witch hounds to pursue. The biggest lark is that none of them are witches, and the only craft the girls weaved was condemning innocent lives to torture and eventually death. You have to wonder whos to blame here: Abigail…

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Crucible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I grew up reading dark fiction, and the only two books I kept from that period were The Wicked Heart and Whisper of Death, both by Christopher Pike. Though both were categorized as horror, the first is a crime mystery that partly follows the murderer, while the latter feels like an episode out of The Twilight Zone. I never cared for pure horror, and a book doesn’t have to scare me for me to find them enjoyable. What I often wanted was a tangible sense of dread paired with insight into the human psyche, which I believe makes for a more potent reading experience. 


I wrote...

Lesath

By A.M. Kherbash,

Book cover of Lesath

What is my book about?

Amateur journalist Greg travels to a remote mountain area to investigate rumors of a sinister building only to find himself imprisoned there. As he tries to escape, he evinces symptoms of a strange affliction and struggles to remain conscious while maintaining an uncertain hold on reality.

Book cover of Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706

This collection of contemporary 17th century works covering (mostly New England) witch-related cases before, during and after the 1692 trials was one of the earliest sources I discovered at my local public library back in the early 1960s. It provides a window into the varying reactions people had to the uncanny and what they did about it.

Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706

By George Lincoln Burr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book has been considered by academicians and scholars of great significance and value to literature. This forms a part of the knowledge base for future generations. So that the book is never forgotten we have represented this book in a print format as the same form as it was originally first published. Hence any marks or annotations seen are left intentionally to preserve its true nature.

Who am I?

After years of sporadic interest in the 1692 trials, Roach became obsessed with the subject after a 1975 trip to Salem itself. Her resulting history, The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, called “a virtual encyclopedia of the entire affair,” and “a Bible of the witch trials,” led to her stint as a sub-editor for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, and membership in the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings, one of Archaeology magazine’s Top Ten discoveries of 2016. Her most recent book to date presents biographies of a half dozen of the major players in the tragedy, giving voices to women who, save for the tragedy, would likely have been lost to history.


I wrote...

Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

By Marilynne K. Roach,

Book cover of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

What is my book about?

Six Women of Salem is the first work to use the lives of a select number of representative women as a microcosm to illuminate the larger crisis of the Salem witch trials. By the end of the trials, beyond the twenty who were put to death and the five who perished in prison, around 200 individuals had been accused, at least seventy had been "afflicted," and the populations of over 20 communities drawn into that ruinous and murderous vortexordinary folk as well as the religious, judicial, and governmental leaders. All this adds up to what the Rev, Cotton Mather called “a desolation of names.”

Witchcraft at Salem

By Chadwick Hansen,

Book cover of Witchcraft at Salem

While I do not agree with all of the author’s conclusions, this book showed me the prevalence of folk-charms in the culture, as well as the psychological reactions humans have to stress that could explain some of what happened with the “bewitched.”

Witchcraft at Salem

By Chadwick Hansen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witchcraft at Salem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trial documents and contemporary narratives are used in this discussion of the practice of witchcraft in seventeenth-century New England.

Who am I?

After years of sporadic interest in the 1692 trials, Roach became obsessed with the subject after a 1975 trip to Salem itself. Her resulting history, The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, called “a virtual encyclopedia of the entire affair,” and “a Bible of the witch trials,” led to her stint as a sub-editor for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, and membership in the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings, one of Archaeology magazine’s Top Ten discoveries of 2016. Her most recent book to date presents biographies of a half dozen of the major players in the tragedy, giving voices to women who, save for the tragedy, would likely have been lost to history.


I wrote...

Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

By Marilynne K. Roach,

Book cover of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

What is my book about?

Six Women of Salem is the first work to use the lives of a select number of representative women as a microcosm to illuminate the larger crisis of the Salem witch trials. By the end of the trials, beyond the twenty who were put to death and the five who perished in prison, around 200 individuals had been accused, at least seventy had been "afflicted," and the populations of over 20 communities drawn into that ruinous and murderous vortexordinary folk as well as the religious, judicial, and governmental leaders. All this adds up to what the Rev, Cotton Mather called “a desolation of names.”

It Takes a Witch

By Heather Blake,

Book cover of It Takes a Witch: A Wishcraft Mystery

Heather Blake’s first Wishcraft mystery is a captivating story that delightfully blends crime, magic, romance, and self-discovery. The suspense remains high throughout the book and is not an easy mystery to solve. The characters and plot are spellbinding and full of charm, enchantment, and humor. I especially love the animals who speak and help provide the clues.

It Takes a Witch

By Heather Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Takes a Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

As a former school psychologist and author of over 45 books, I love reading about characters that are likable, plots that are believable, and settings that I want to visit. My years as a psychologist make it easy to spot poorly written characters that don’t ring true. It is also my years as a psychologist that makes me enjoy a light, humorous read with a guaranteed happy ending.


I wrote...

Murder of a Smart Cookie

By Denise Swanson,

Book cover of Murder of a Smart Cookie

What is my book about?

Yard sales bring out the worst in people. Nobody knows this better than Scumble River school psychologist Skye Denison, organizer of the First Annual Route 66 Yard Sale. Neighborly folk gets downright nasty fighting over plastic knickknacks. But the worst is yet to come... Skye's former summer-job boss, Cookie Caldwell, has just been found murdered - and the sheriff suspects Skye.

Down Salem Way

By Meredith Allard,

Book cover of Down Salem Way

Down Salem Way is a journey back to the horrific Salem witch hysteria era. This book fascinated me because I will read anything connected to the Salem witch trials and the events that led to 19 innocent victims’ executions in 1692. Down Salem Way tells us the story in vivid detail through the eyes of John Wentworth and his beloved wife Elizabeth. They knew many of the condemned, and witnessed their horrific trials and executions. Rev. Nicholas Noyes and Judges Hathorne and Corwin were responsible for these atrocities, after witnessing the ‘afflicted’ (the young girls whose hysterical behavior led to the accusations). This book will take you back to 17th-century Salem and Boston, where the victims were held in another dungeon. 

The story moved me emotionally because I visit Salem all the time, and have always taken a keen interest in the witch trials. This book, although a novel, made…

Down Salem Way

By Meredith Allard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Down Salem Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I write historical and biographical novels, and have had a fascination with the Salem witch trials since childhood. With my first visit to Salem, I felt a strong connection to my surroundings and its history. When I walked through the House of the Seven Gables for the first time, I felt I’d been there before. Three past-life regressions brought me back to 17th century Salem. In my biographical novel For The Love Of Hawthorne, I delved deeply into the soul of my favorite author, his devoted wife, and the shame his family suffered at the hand of his ancestor Judge Hathorne. The story came from my heart, as I lived their story along with them. 


I wrote...

For The Love Of Hawthorne

By Diana Rubino,

Book cover of For The Love Of Hawthorne

What is my book about?

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s courtship of Sophia Peabody lasted three years because he insisted on keeping it secret. But she knew they were destined for each other. When they married in 1842 “we became Adam and Eve in our Garden of Even” she wrote in her journal. But not all was paradise in their Eden—Nathaniel bore a burden that plagued his family since 1692. His ancestor Judge Hathorne condemned nineteen innocent victims to death during the Salem witch trials. His heinous deeds brought shame and guilt upon the family. In her last moments on earth, Sarah Good cursed the judge and his descendants from the hanging tree. Nathaniel’s belief in this curse haunted him until Sophia made it her quest to save him. 

The Heretic's Daughter

By Kathleen Kent,

Book cover of The Heretic's Daughter

I recommend this book because of my fascination with the Salem witch trials and how they affected innocent victims. I also recommend it because Kathleen Kent is a 10th generation descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the 19 victims to be executed. I believe her personal connection enabled her to capture the setting and the emotions of those involved so distinctly, as she’s writing about her own family members. The story is told by Sarah Carrier Chapman in a letter to her granddaughter, revealing that her mother, Martha, was condemned and hanged as witch in 1692. The Salem Village Sarah lived in was in the throes of simmering hostility, an ominous foreshadowing of the horror to come. This is a novel, but because these people actually lived, suffered, and grieved, and as I believe I have a spiritual connection to Salem during this time, it struck a chord…

The Heretic's Daughter

By Kathleen Kent,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Heretic's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A courageous woman fights to survive the darkest days of the Salem Witch Trials in this "heart-wrenching story of family love and sacrifice" (USA Today).  

Salem, 1752. Sarah Carrier Chapman, weak with infirmity, writes a letter to her granddaughter that reveals the secret she has closely guarded for six decades: how she survived the Salem Witch Trials when her mother did not.

Sarah's story begins more than a year before the trials, when she and her family arrive in a New England community already gripped by superstition and fear. As they witness neighbor pitted against neighbor, friend against friend, the…

Who am I?

I write historical and biographical novels, and have had a fascination with the Salem witch trials since childhood. With my first visit to Salem, I felt a strong connection to my surroundings and its history. When I walked through the House of the Seven Gables for the first time, I felt I’d been there before. Three past-life regressions brought me back to 17th century Salem. In my biographical novel For The Love Of Hawthorne, I delved deeply into the soul of my favorite author, his devoted wife, and the shame his family suffered at the hand of his ancestor Judge Hathorne. The story came from my heart, as I lived their story along with them. 


I wrote...

For The Love Of Hawthorne

By Diana Rubino,

Book cover of For The Love Of Hawthorne

What is my book about?

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s courtship of Sophia Peabody lasted three years because he insisted on keeping it secret. But she knew they were destined for each other. When they married in 1842 “we became Adam and Eve in our Garden of Even” she wrote in her journal. But not all was paradise in their Eden—Nathaniel bore a burden that plagued his family since 1692. His ancestor Judge Hathorne condemned nineteen innocent victims to death during the Salem witch trials. His heinous deeds brought shame and guilt upon the family. In her last moments on earth, Sarah Good cursed the judge and his descendants from the hanging tree. Nathaniel’s belief in this curse haunted him until Sophia made it her quest to save him. 

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