Lidia Wardell walked naked through the Newbury meeting house. She was prosecuted, and publicly whipped for this crime. This event is common historical knowledge.
The Rose and the Whip is set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in May 1663, but tells the entire story of systematic persecution of dissenters, by dissenters. Lidia relates the story of her life, and the series of events that culminated in her decision to take this action in protest of the Puritan community leaders' treatment of Quakers. As she is charged, sentenced, and tied to the whipping post, then subsequently thrashed with twenty or thirty lashes, she critically examines each of these events and reflects on how they served to transform her and her perspectives on truth and faith.