Jun 09 2016

The Collaborators: 8th Edition

I cannot believe the last time I collaborated with Alaina of That’s What She Read was back in February 2015!? Nearly 1.5 years ago! That’s crazy! Then again I could be blamed because I have been very lax with my reading. I’m lucky if I can finish a book in two weeks, or even finish a book at all these days! Mostly because I’ve been driving myself nuts working on a project of my own that deals with writing a series and I was worried I’d get side-tracked or lose focus on my writing if I spent too much time reading. Crazy right!?

Anyway, after practically begging Alaina to do a collaboration with me because I knew that way I would definitely read something and read it quickly. My hope is this with reading this book with her it will get me back in a rhythm of reading a book a week and still finding the time to work on my own stuff. Little did I know we’d be picking such a fascinating book! Truth be told I’m writing this “pre-review” after having already read 50+ pages so this is a bit of a cheat, but I’m really blown away by this book!

I’m actually doing this now because: 1. I forgot that we do a pre-review! That’s how long it’s been! 2. Turns out Alaina already did hers before me! and 3. In looking back I realize that usually I write mine before her so I don’t want to leave too much of a time gap between her pre-review and mine! 

Anywho, the book we chose (narrowing it down from a list of 5 that I suggested just from looking back on my booklikes list of books I had just recently added to my “shelf”) came from these wide range of choices:

The Witches by Stacy Schiff
After Alice by Gregory Maguire
The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
So Anyway by John Cleese
Revival by Stephen King

And the winner is…


Truth be told I was keeping my fingers crossed that we would pick The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory only because I’m fascinated by that time period of King Henry VIII and his many dalliances. But by luck, and the timing of Alaina’s local library, The Witches became available first. And having read 50+ pages of it already I’m glad this was our choice.

It’s based on some truth and fact. I say “some” because, even to the books credit, there wasn’t much documentation or factual records kept of the “trials” that took place or of the people who lived in Salem, MA back in 1692. You have to remember there wasn’t such things as stenographers or warrants or even the notion of “innocent until proven guilty.” In fact, it seems it was more like “guilty until proven guilty” and that was that! Hence why there are so many movies that have taken so many fantastical liberties when telling the story of those witches of Salem who were hanged for crimes many, if not all, were innocent of. But I’m getting into the realm of reviewing the book instead of pre-reviewing it!

Here is a brief synopsis with a full review coming very soon:

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff’s account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.