Review - Deliverance From Evil A Novel of the Salem Witch by Frances Hill Overlook, 2011 Review by Natalie Kelley-Wilson May 22nd 2012 (Volume 16, Issue 21)
This is a fictional account of a historical event. The author seems to be attempting to stay true to the facts while adding her own interpretations to events and motivations to character. Overall it is an attempt to pique a non-historian's interest in the Salem Witch Trials. The author no doubt would like the reader to take interest in the event and desire to learn more by reading the author's nonfiction works. The book entertains while teaching the reader about history.
The book is intended for the general fiction reader, however it might be of particular interest for somebody with an interest in history. Given the topic and the author's expertise on the event, the book might also be useful in a history or literature course. It would also provide rich discussion topics for a book club. The language and vocabulary of the book is easily understood while still maintaining the authenticity of the characters. The general reader can easily comprehend and enjoy the writing. While still being accessible there is an educated feel to the book that helps to authenticate the interpretation presented within.
Despite the disturbing topic--or perhaps because of it--the book was an easy and entertaining read. Previously I had known almost nothing about the Salem witch trials other than the fact that they occurred and that the people who were executed were not in fact witches. This book was a horrifying look at the lengths some people will go to for greed and spite. There were some very upsetting things in the book--pregnant women and small children accused of witchcraft being chained in the dungeon among other things--but there was still a sense of hope and charity throughout the story which made it bearable to read. The fictional aspect of the story helps to temper the horror of the events. I would definitely recommend this book but must warn that it may result in the reader finding an interest in the nonfictional aspects of the story. I for one may be looking into reading the author's non-fiction works on the topic.
Natalie Kelley-Wilson graduated from Allegheny College with a BA in English Lit. and from Clarion University with a Masters in Library Science. Currently she works at her town's public library and the county historical society. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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