Thriller, spiritual mystery,
historical fiction ... or truth revealed?
Twenty-first-century Salem still guarded the secrets of lies and violence, torture and blackmail-even premeditated murder-that took place during the Witch Trials of 1692. Behind the gaudy museums and shops, the crowded bus tours of local haunts, the seemingly upright Colonial families dating back to the settling of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, festered a conspiracy of longstanding guilt and purely human greed. Only one woman knew of the Family Confederacy-Sophie St. Cloud, whose connection to the Salem Witch Trials is part magickal, part personal. Sophie's dreams and hauntings have told her that the time has come to end the threat of the Confederacy and free the murdered souls of Salem after 315 years. With the aid of three friends, also mysteriously connected to Salem's past tragedies, she sets out on a perilous, exacting pilgrimage of Emancipation.
The name of Giles Corey is familiar to anyone who knows the terrible story of the persecution and trials of those unfortunates who were accused of witchcraft in Essex County in 1692. Refusing to admit guilt, the elderly farmer was pressed under heavy stones and then beaten to death. His wife Martha hung soon thereafter, in the last group of executions before the trials were stopped. Every September, a secret ritual was performed by members of the conspiracy to keep Giles restrained in this world, unable to move to the next. Sophie St. Cloud must use all her spiritual and shamanic powers to defeat the evil and bring the good to Light in Salem's most historical graveyards.
Michael Sortomme, writer and artist, embarked on a spiritual career that spanned more than three decades and encompassed metaphysics, the occult arts, and active indigenous Shamanic practice. Educated in archeology and modern literature, she has journeyed in pursuit of Truth that she translates into vivid paintings and equally compelling stories. Currently on hiatus from private practice and community service, Michael is focusing on her life as an author and multi-media artist. She lives and creates under a 150-year-old Larch tree in Oregon's Pinot noir country. Her passions include herstory, genetic genealogy, international travel, and fine dark chocolate. Contact her through her website, www.michaelsortomme.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For me, I felt as though this book was more fact than fiction. The story is woven with all the bits and pieces of history I've ever studied; all the suspicions behind the horrific 1620's New England reign of terror; all the hypocrisy in the name of God for the sake of greed - it all manifests into this one magnificent journey. I've always felt a heavy pain for those that suffered at the hands of fear, greed and ignorance during that horrendous era and if ever there were a way to begin to make amends for the gruesome acts of our ancestors and bring some serenity to the tortured souls suffering in silence, Michael Sortomme accomplishes this in her story. It brought an almost calming relief to my soul to know that her feelings run so deep as to create such a tribute to those that we grieve for even to this day. This is a MUST read for those with deep empathy for those tormented souls of our past. I applaud Michael for her obviously unrelenting research and dedication, and her attempt to right a vicious and long overdue wrong.
Determined and gritty, Sophie St. Cloud will let nothing - including her travel companions - get in her way as she works to free herself from the torment of her past life as Giles Corey who was crushed to death for refusing to admit his guilt in the witch hunts over 300 years ago. After many years of planning every inch of the journey from her current home in Oregon's serene wine country, she travels to the core soul of the Massachusetts witch hysteria in Essex County. Sophie takes on teenagers, tourists, locals and spirits to complete the work she knows she needs to do to free the spirit of Giles Corey. Even with help and support from her long time partner and two colleagues who were also with her at that time just as they are now, she discovers she really must complete the hard work on her own. Each of her colleagues, originally believing they are merely there to support Sophie, soon discover that they must also complete their own work to bring peace to their previous selves. Drained and yet energized by the time the journey is complete, she has successfully confronted all the challenges and challengers, sometimes very directly with a great deal of courage and strength, sometimes with heart and compassion, always knowing instinctively when to apply each part of herself to the situation. Gorgeous artwork brings the story alive and hand drawn maps are easy to follow as Sophie and friends travel throughout Essex County. A well-written, easy to follow and interesting story, Michael brings background information into the story as it develops rather than all at the beginning. She brings a unique perspective to what REALLY happened during the hysteria of Salem, Massachusetts over 3 centuries ago.
While I appreciate the limitations of marketing, to label this beautiful book a novel is nearly as much of an injustice as I have paid to the woman who asked me to review it. Let me back up and dissect that last sentence. This book is so much more than a novel. It is steeped in realism and history and as one gets caught up in the story that is being told, it is impossible to continue viewing it solely as a work of fiction. As to my own rendered injustice, I was honored to be asked to review this book and prepared (a month ago - *cough*) to give it my gracious, cursory review. I enjoy reading books and I often complete the review and have a feeling of, "I will come back and read that more completely later." Sometimes I do. Often, I don't. I plan to go back and give the book its due, absorbing every word the author labored to include and reading between the lines to find the hidden messages as well. Too often, I read enough to give a quality review and then it goes onto "the stack." The stack is quite tall now. In this case, I ran into a problem delivering my standard review. I was absolutely riveted from the acknowledgments on. This book will suck you in and should come with a warning label letting people know they should not even plan to do another thing until they finish it. Since I am A) old and B) a full time college student and C) a wife and mom and D) a freelance journalist, a web designer, a telephone psychic and a virtual assistant, my reading for leisure time is limited. Before I knew what was happening, I had a follow-up letter and I had not even finished the book yet. I finally did today (sorry, Linda) and could not wait to get this review up. All of that being said, this book is absolutely amazing. The interweaving of compelling storytelling with rich history draws you into a world that elicits so many different emotions. The reader is swept along with the four main characters in an incredible experience, an "American Camino," that results in the freeing of 164 spirits who were previously bound to the earth. In emancipating the spirits, the character also free up parts of themselves that are trapped by their own connections to the past. The writing is exquisite (seriously, read the acknowledgments) and flows beautifully. The chapters are small, which is nice for people, like myself who are not blessed with a lot of reading time. You will literally never look at the era surrounding the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 in the same way and will feel as though you have experienced the stories of these tortured spirits yourself. You will participate in their releases along with them and will simultaneously envy and dread the idea of living Sophia's life and calling. On a personal level, the rituals used in the book are lovely and respectful. As a seasoned, multi-decade-invested practioner of Craft, it is refreshing to read the techniques described and think things like, "Yep, that would work," rather than cringing that the too often cheesy and careless construction of fictional ritual. The relatability to the characters was one of the most valuable factors in my absorption into the study and I thank the author for her due diligence in creating a fictional piece that is still magically responsible. I highly recommend this book to like minds and as I close this review, I will pass the book directly to my 18-year-old daughter who has become a Kindle snob and will cringe at the i