domenica, febbraio 19, 2017

The Witching Time by Rachel Faugno

I fell in love for Massachusetts thanks to an actor, my favorite one: Johnny Depp, because he incarnated the mobster Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger and a newsmagazine The Boston Globe.

This love is continuing and when I can read a book set in Massachusetts I am always very happy.

I discovered recently a new publishing house thanks to Library Thing.

I have some British and American friends fixated with ravens and Gothic world.
I immediately visited the website of Ravenswood Publishing & Imprints and I decided that yes, it would have been nice to read and review some of their books.

I picked up few titles considering the large amount of books I am reading and wait to be reviewed.

The only one I could download with my dial-up The Witching Time by Rachel Faugno.

I have always fell in love for witches stories maybe because when I was little living in a countryside some women said me that they had heard witches clapping hands and laughing and smiling and mom terrorized me: "Please return home before the arrival of night for not being captured by a terrible witch."

Plus I love stories with old secrets, old houses, spirits, and unfinished stories.

Massachusetts is an American State but with a natural and strong European touch, so if Europe in some part of the USA not felt, Massachusetts has never lost its roots but it also shared some Europeans traditions and customs during the centuries not always positive, like the one of killing women because considered witches.
No one is perfect :-)

The story of The Witching Time starts from the past and from that execution of Bathsheba Spooner and the rest of conspirators brought  her husband to death. It was 1778. It was July 2 1778 when this young lady lost her life with her child still in her belly.

I didn't notice at first that this story was based on a real story and according to my point of view it's important first of all to focus on the story of Bathsheba not known by everyone for then reading  the book with more knowledge of the facts.

Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner was born on February 15 1746 and died hanged up on a tree on July 2, 1778.

There is a curiosity to add: the Salem execution of witches, in 1692 was caused by British mainly but  this one the first lady to being killed in the USA as a federation of States immediately after the Declaration of Independence in 1776. An American execution.

Bathsheba was the daughter of a very important lawyer and military officer, Mr Ruggles although as we have seen not in grade to avoid the death of his daughter.

Bathsheba married Joshua Spooner. Joshua Spooner was a rich farmer very well known in the city of Brookfield.

Her main faults? Adultery, a pregnancy and the following homicide of her own husband.

Bathsheba fell in love in fact with a very very young soldier, Ezra Ross 16 years old. The young boy was a soldier of the Continental Army.

Bathsheba took good care of him and restored his health.

The young boy lived in Linebrook but too sick to return home.

Ross very grateful  stopped by often in the house of Mr and Mrs.Spooner and Joshua Spooner started to appreciate him a lot becoming friend with this young boy.

He invited him so on business trips in various cities, and it is more than normal to think that Mr.Spooner treated him as a great friend.

The two men traveled but they also stayed home as well and once Ezra and Bathsheba started to have an affair.

The lady soon became impregnated and truly infatuated by this young boy.

What to do now?

At least if she would have lied she would have had a best card to play, but obviously for what I can feel the lady seriously taken by Ezra, in love, a sick love because it brought all of them in a dark spiral of obsession, murder and death without any possibility of escapism.

Bathsheba started to ask to her young lover of killing as soon as possible the husband.

So Ezra Ross who accompanied Joshua Spooner to Princeton brought with him also a bottle of nitric acid, a bottle Bathsheba gave him, just in case... Once poison was the quickest way for killing a person.

But let's imagine this young boy, not yet an adult one. Let's imagine his innocence. A baby arriving soon, a lady asking to kill a man considered like a father. A scenario too big to him. Let's also imagine his mental confusion.
Maybe he was scared, maybe he thought at the horrible action he would have done at Mr Spooner. Who knows?
He gave up.

He returned home without to kill Spooner. He returned home, his home where he felt he was still in a peaceful place.

Who couldn't wait anymore was Bathsheba.

Bathsheba wanted to see dead her husband as soon as possible and maybe she dreamed a new life with Ezra- So while Ezra and Joshua were in Princeton, thinking that maybe the young lover (let's imagine it) not in grade to kill her husband invited other two British soldiers, escaped prisoners to stay at her house for discussing of the probable homicide of her husband.

What said Mr Spooner once returned home and found these two men?

The wife told him that she asked to these soldiers of helping her. The husband didn't say anything although the family had various servants.

Surely Spooner wouldn't never thought that these two ex soldiers were there for committing a homicide. His homicide.

Bathsheba didn't lose time and informed enthusiastically Ezra Ross of the latest developments via letter. Maybe she guessed that the little young man couldn't be able to do everything all alone.

The young boy once received the letter returned to Brookfield on February 28.

But he didn't kill materially Spooner. He couldn't. Brooks killed him and Buchanan and Ezra Ross helped hide the body in the well of family Spooner.

After that the homicide was committed the men Brooks and Buchanan spent the rest of the night in another village drinking.

The truth was more than evident. The three men captured immediately and young Ezra Ross asked for a priest. The three men not only confessed but they said that the mind of this crime was Bathsheba Spooner.

The homicide committed on March 1 1778.

Bathsheba asked to be executed after the birth of her child but there was nothing to do. An autopsy  revealed that the lady was pregnant by, approximately, 5 months.

Back in modern times we can say that Caroline the protagonist of this story is a lady apparently with a normal life, with a husband, Alan that she loves but that she physically avoid any contact with after the terrible departure of their beloved son James. An error, something she committed. She is under therapy for healing and she still "feels" her toddler close to her as a real presence and she speaks of "we" and not "I" when at first she interacts with people.

She discovers that her poor aunt Hetty disappeared recently decided to leave her the house where she had always lived in. Alan and Caroline thought of selling quickly the estate, thinking also that they could make some money from it being a historic house.

But Caroline is not part of this world. She is also part of that obscurity that her mom and her granny had always refused to take in consideration and for this reason punished: the witches world that aunt Hetty had devotedly and proudly continued. In the schemes and plans of aunt Hetty Caroline should perpetuate the family tradition.

An unfriendly friend of aunt Hetty, Mrs. Stratton will welcome her in a cold house in a still unfriend place for Caroline.

Mrs.Stratton is a devoted baker of apple cakes, apple pies, and she loves to drink warm strong tea for restoring body and soul but she hides the most.

Caroline will  understand soon that her life is turning upside down. She will be capable thanks also at Mrs.Stratton of actions that in the past would have considered scenarios of a  horror movie, but that in that house and in that normality are the normality.

She has frequnt vision of a beauty woman, Bathsheba and being a descendent of that lady she imagines maybe her destiny will follow the one of Bathsheba.

She knows Eddy, a beautiful young 18 years boy at the end of high school and she will fall in love for him. A passionate, strong love lived with immense joy and refreshment after the devastation of the married life she spent with Alan, a much more cold and practical man.

Eddy to her means the innocence, means the freshness and the most powerful desire of being back to life in every sense.

Caroline will start to appreciate the pagan rituals of the various witches friends of her aunt Hetty and she starts to love the atmosphere although the cost of all of it will be very high.

The book is constructed in a superlative way. I can just tell you that I couldn't put this book down until the end.

It is powerful, very well written, and intense.

You will feel in every page the story and its protagonists. Few, very well centered and focused.

I fell in love at first with the stunning, beautiful and romantic cover of the book.
This girl is surrounded by white candles and in the mirror the reflection of another lady once existed in this world...

I highly recommend this book if you are interested in crime, a lot of crime you will see, with a lot of black magic, old and new love-stories, historic facts, old houses, and if you want to learn something about pagan world.

I thank Ravenswood Publishing & Imprints for this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

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