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Susannah Morrow

Susannah Morrow

4.7 12
by Megan Chance

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An irresistible blend of history, suspense and romance captures the extraordinary drama of the Salem witch trials. Set in one of the most horrific yet intriguing periods in history, "Susannah Morrow" offers fascinating psychological insight into the sexual repression that spawned the witch hunts.


An irresistible blend of history, suspense and romance captures the extraordinary drama of the Salem witch trials. Set in one of the most horrific yet intriguing periods in history, "Susannah Morrow" offers fascinating psychological insight into the sexual repression that spawned the witch hunts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The infamous Salem witch trials are staged once again in this historically accurate yet oddly flat novel. Three characters narrate the tale: 15-year-old Charity Fowler; her father, Lucas; and her maternal aunt, Susannah Morrow. The novel opens in 1691 as Charity, devastated and increasingly uncertain, struggles to cope with both the loss of her mother in childbirth and the abrupt departure of her first love. The easily led teenager seeks solace in a group of manipulative girls, who insinuate that evil is lurking in their insular, superstitious little town. As Charity loses her grasp on reason, Lucas, a God-fearing man who has tended his family the best he can but is hobbled by his piety, takes the reins of the narrative. Tormented by his sexual longings and uneasy about his stern treatment of his daughters, he commits grievous errors in judgment. The hysteria over the alleged presence of witches in the village-as documented by the crazed "fits" of young girls-has paralyzed the community when Susannah's voice takes over. Her London background and her strength, sensuality and courage inevitably make her a victim of the madness, but her lucid narration carries the reader through the horror of escalating accusations and unmerited punishment. Chance's clear-eyed narrative doesn't slide into sensationalism, but with the exception of the intriguing and well-drawn title character, it adds little to the well-known story. (Oct. 28) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Told from the perspective of a victim, her accuser, and the accuser's father, this tale of the Salem witch trials is gripping from its very opening pages. Sixteen-year-old Charity Fowler's mother has just died, and her beautiful Aunt Susannah arrives from England on the same day. Lucas Fowler, Charity's father, is a deeply religious but emotionally distant Puritan who has repressed his own love for his daughter since her birth to focus instead on saving her soul. Charity thus turns to a group of teenage girls in Salem for acceptance. When Aunt Susannah interrupts the girls' visit to a local tavern, she becomes the target of a vicious and tragic sequence of events that eventually lead to her imprisonment as a witch. Most of the supporting characters in this novel are actual historical figures who were involved in the Salem witch trials. Romance writer Chance (The Way Home) has brought believability and immediacy to this dark chapter in American history with a story that can be recommended to a wide spectrum of readers and book discussion groups. Every public library will want to own this.-Kim Rutter, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An overwrought debut revisits the Salem Witch trials.

In 1691, our first narrator, 15-year-old Charity Fowler, watches her mother Judith die giving birth to another daughter. Charity’s father Lucas, a stern and pious carpenter, has gone to the harbor to fetch her aunt Susannah Morrow, who has sailed from England to see her sister Judith. The two arrive in time to see the birth, but a distraught Charity—her behavior is the most contrived in a story where characters too obviously reflect its themes of sexual repression, rampant religiosity, and the old Hawthorne-esque fear of evil spirits lurking in the dark forest—suddenly turns against Susannah. Charity, who was seduced by the unsuitable young Sam, whom her mother Judith paid to leave the village, now, for obvious plot purposes, overcome by deep sexual and religious guilt, is suddenly convinced that Susannah is an instrument of the Devil. She’s also desperate for her father’s attention—he offers her biblical texts rather than hugs—and has befriended a bad lot of girls, some based on the real-life accusers in the trials, who dabble in fortunetelling, spells, and other mischief. As Charity becomes more obsessed with the notion of Susannah’s inherent evil, Lucas takes up the story. He recounts his worries about Charity, his growing sexual attraction to Susannah, and the burgeoning hysteria in the village as more and more young girls begin behaving as if possessed. Accusations of witchcraft lead to Susannah’s imprisonment. A forgiving and insightful woman, she has never married but has had three lovers, acted on the London stage, and is beautiful, not helping her case in repressed Salem. Lucas is also jailed as the panicked citizenry beginimplicating the most unlikely people. Eventually, sanity returns, but not soon enough for some of the women of Salem.

Melodrama on the loose: neither entertaining nor persuasive.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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678 KB

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Susannah Morrow 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this book, kept me looking forward to reading. Very engrossing. Only complaint is the ending, I hoped for something more concrete. All in all, interesting and well worth my time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u want to read an all encompassing book on the salem witch trials then read this. I couldn't put it down!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is a very good novel. I could't put it down. It was very itresting to read. This novel would be a great novel to read for any body who is intrested in the history of the salem witch trials.
harstan More than 1 year ago
1691 Salem, Massachusetts, fifteen-year-old Charity Fowler watches her mother grow weaker as she gives birth. Charity¿s puritanical and pious father Lucas is meeting his sister-in-law Susannah Morrow, who just arrived from England on a visit, at the docks. Lucas and Susannah return to his home in time to see his wife give birth and die. A troubled Charity soon believes that Susannah is evil incarnate as a disciple of the Devil. Lucas begins to worry about his daughter whose behavior seems weirder everyday. He reads from the bible to soothe her soul, but that seems to upset Charity more. Worse, Lucas is very attracted to Susannah though the memory of his wife fresh in the ground lingers. As hysteria turns a town into an avenging mob seeking anything remotely different, the former London stage performer Susannah is an ideal target. She is accused of witchcraft and incarcerated followed by the jailing of Lucas as a mad frenzy takes charge of the townsfolk. SUSANNAH MORROW has plenty going for it as a powerfully vivid look at the Salem witch trials. The story line is loaded with historical information that enhances the novel by bringing to life this odd period (though some might disagree insisting that we still conduct witch-hunts today). The three key characters seem fully developed and genuine, yet the tale never fully takes off as the plot overuses suppressed sexual reactions inside of Hawthorne¿s circles so that the first person narration in three parts never quite hooks the audience. Megan Chance is a talented author who remarkably radiates a light on the late seventeenth century in New England that historical novel fans will feel is worth the chance of reading. Harriet Klausner