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The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Crucible is a classic. When you think of literature about the Salem Witch Trials, you think of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Written at a point of turmoil in American history about another point of turmoil in American history, it is easy to see why Miller was inspired by the events that transpired in Salem, Massachusetts. Published in 1953, it is still a profound book that shows how easily it is for the human race to speak against another for selfish means.

The Crucible focuses primarily on the Proctors and Abigail Williams. Prior to the events of the witch hunt, John Proctor committed adultery against his wife and had a brief affair with Abigail, who was at that time the Proctors servant girl. Elizabeth Proctor found out and John felt terrible for his actions, and Abigail was sent from the house, and replaced with Mary Warren. Now, Abigail has seen an opportunity to regain John's affection. After a group of girls, Abigail being one of them, was caught dancing in the woods…

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

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The Shape of Mercy came most recommended by my book group for books about witch trials. While it was decent, it was also outside my realm of books as it has a heavy Christian influence. It was a quick read, though, and it kept my interest.

Lauren Durough is from a wealthy family and has a lot of expectations thrust upon her. So instead of going to Stanford, like everyone else in her family, she chooses a state school. And although she does not a job, she gets one anyway. Enter Abigail Boyles. Abigail is an elderly woman who is also privileged. She has hired Lauren to transcribe a diary from the seventeenth century that belonged to a distant relative; a relative that was convicted of witchcraft-Mercy Hayworth. The further into the diary Lauren gets, the more enveloped she becomes in Mercy's tale, even though she knows how it ends. Abigail, for as much as she wants the diary transcribed, seems to keep the whole project at arms length and gives away very little about herself. But whe…

A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials by Ann Rinaldi

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A Break with Charity was the book most recommended when I asked my book club for books on witch trials. Out of the books I have read so far on this subject, it was not my favorite; however, it is also the book that has brought out the most emotion in me.

Susanna English lives in Salem at the start of the the witch trials. While initially wanting to be part of this circle of girls who meet at the parsonage and listen to Tituba's stories and have her read their palms and tea leaves. She wants to fit in with them, and she wants to find out if her brother William, who is a seaman, is okay. While she is not able to become part of the circle, she does meet with Tituba and get some answers, although they are mysterious. But then the girls of the circle begin having fits and naming people as witches. Susanna knows why they are doing it, but says nothing. As more people are named, tried, and sent to prison, Susanna battles with keeping quiet and keeping her family safe, or speaking up and …

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

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When I reached out to one of my book groups on books about different witch trials, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane was one of the books most recommended. After reading the synopsis, I was drawn in by the low key mystery aspect of the story, but I was not sure how much else about the book I would like. As it turns out, I liked all of it.

It is late April 1991, and Connie Goodwin is a graduate student who is ready to start working on her dissertation. And then she receives a call from her mother saying that the house that belonged to Connie's Granna needs to be cleaned and put on the market. So Connie, who should be spending her summer doing research, is instead in Marble Falls, Massachusetts, where this house has sat vacant for twenty some years. At first, Connie is not thrilled with the idea of this; but, when she discovers a slip of paper tucked into a key that reads "Deliverance Dane," Connie becomes swept up in finding out who this woman is and what became of her…