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Blog Tour and Book Excerpt for "The Devil's Glove"



Book Title: The Devil’s Glove

Series: Salem

Author: Lucretia Grindle

Publication Date: May 1, 2023

Publisher: Casa Croce Press

Page Length: 346

Genre: Literary Historical Fiction


The Devil’s Glove

by Lucretia Grindle



Blurb:


Northern New England, summer, 1688. Salem started here. A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.

Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They're known as healers taught by the local tribes - and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.

Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.

As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew - about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.

Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL'S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village's dark and mysterious past?


Praise for The Devil’s Glove:


“From its opening lines this historical novel from Grindle (Villa Triste) grips with its rare blend of a powerfully evoked past, resonant characters, smart suspense, and prose touched with shivery poetry.”

~ BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick



Buy Links:


This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.




Author Bio:



Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.


Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine.


Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC FrontRow’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation.


She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.


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Book Excerpt:


We keep a pallet in the front parlor. Sometimes it is used by Judah, but mostly it is kept, re-stuffed with new straw, in case of a voyager, or someone too ill to be sent back to where ever they have come from seeking my mother’s care. Now, we unroll it by the hearth. Between us, we lower Thaddeus Hobbs on to it. Grief has exhausted him. The militia has worn him thin.

“Fear and guilt have done the rest,” my mother says in her low voice as we remove his boots and strip the filthy shirt from his bony shoulders, exposing the rails of his ribs.

Through all this, he does not move, and it is then that I realize my mother has given him something, a draft mixed into the plums. A tea or syrup, of valerian and St John’s wort, for pain and dreams. It would not have taken much, and the sugar would have masked the taste.

“Into the rag bin,” she says, balling the filthy shirt and handing it to me. “We’ll give him one of your father’s when he wakes. Which won’t be for hours yet.” She sits back on her heels, watching him. “There’ll be time when he’s rested.”

Time for what? I start to ask. Before I can, she looks at me.

“For him to tell us what he came to say,” my mother says.

As she rises I think, not for the first time, that we are bonded so tight that she might as well be another limb, a part of me that moves and speaks and thinks as I do. Yet at the same time, this is not true. Because I know my mother sees and speaks a silent language I do not fully understand. I would have said, for instance, that Thaddeus Hobbs came here to learn of his mother’s last hours - to salve his grief in the lie my mother told him, that Avis Hobbs died at peace. And that is true. But she is telling me it is not all that is true.

I see only half the picture. My mother sees it whole. She reads words written on air. Hears whispers so thin, and catches shadows moving so fast that I do not even feel their passing. Stepping into our shuttered front room, she becomes little more than a dark shape in the open doorway. Watching her, I suddenly realize that I have understood this for a very long time. And that it began in The Greening. That reading the power of blossoms and leaves and bark was not the only thing Ashawonks taught her.

The understanding lands like a bird on my outstretched hand.

I glance at Thaddeus Hobbs, his mouth slack and lost to sleep, and I understand too, that he has been carrying a weight that has all but exhausted him, and that he came here to put it down. To see if he could trust us. Which is why my mother both lied to him, and told him the truth. First about peace then about poison.

She emerges carrying our little writing chest. Setting it on the table, my mother lifts the lid, opens a fresh ink pot, and dips a quill. The nib on parchment sounds like a cat’s scratch. My mother does not look up until she is finished.

Then, folding the paper and stamping it with her red wax, she hands it to me and says, “Take this to Edward Tyng. He will instruct Blackman, and will not argue. I have written that I suspect Master Hobbs of having a fever, and that unless I am left undisturbed to cure him he will pass it to everyone in the fort and by the time it finishes there will be no militia left.”

She smiles, and I smile back. Because everyone knows that Edward Tyng is terrified of almost everything. Our magistrate fears the sun because he may be be sun dazed. He fears the sea because he may drown. He fears the Natives because they may kill him. And horses because they kick. And dogs because they bite. But most of all, he fears sickness. And it is also well known that, while he is wholly terrified of both Captain Alden and my father, Edward Tyng is half in love with my mother because she once cured him of a sore throat. And half terrified of her too, because she knew the cure.

His besottedness is a joke between us, and this will not be the first time my mother has used it to her advantage, especially since my father went to London. John Alden is right. Edward Tyng is both stupid and stubborn. But it can be useful to have a magistrate in your thrall. One that is a fussy old maid and a terrible gossip is doubly useful. Murmur piles upon murmur like rotting leaves. My mother has just added a new layer.

***

It is twilight when Thaddeus Hobbs turns and mutters in his sleep. The soft whir of my mother’s spinning wheel fills the room. I sort berries, dropping them from one bowl to another as his eyes flutter, and open.

At first Thaddeus is shamed, to find himself in nothing but his britches. But my mother settles that quickly. She has already selected one of my father’s shirts from the linen press in the front room. Handing it to Thaddeus, she directs him out to our well where linen and soap are left on the summer trough. I wonder, briefly, if he will return. If coming to his senses under the cold water, he might think better of coming here and, being well rested and fed, pick up his burden again and scurry away. Although he will have to go barefoot, as his boots are at the foot of the pallet.

But he does not. By the time he returns to the kitchen, my mother has lit candles, and there is a bowl of grapes, and my berries, and a plate of fresh biscuits on the table. At the sight, Thaddeus smiles and I notice for the first time that he is handsome. More than that, Thaddeus Hobbs is beautiful. Like his sister. And yet, not like her at all. Sleep has erased the lines around his eyes and mouth. His hair, clean and combed, is longer than it should be. The paleness of his skin and those gray eyes in the warming candle light make him look almost as if he is disappearing. Almost as if he is nothing but the reflection of an angel that has lost its way and drifted to our table.

My mother fetches out the pewter goblets that were part of her wedding portion and a bottle of wine from Philip English’s ships. She pours the wine with water, thinking, I suspect, that Thaddeus Hobbs will not be used to such stuff, and might keep his senses better with a weaker drink. And so we sit, the three of us, sipping, sucking on grapes, picking at the crumbled edges of new biscuits while the evening light creeps through the open kitchen door as if the house is sucking it in, making the candles brighter.

“I was not sure,” Thaddeus says finally, “I was not certain at all until you told me about the poison. Then -” He looks up from a grape he has been rolling back and forth across the table. “Then,” he says again, “I knew. Or perhaps -” He smiles, but it’s a smile of sadness, nothing else. “Perhaps I knew the moment I heard, the moment Goody Skilling told me my mother was dead. Only, I did not want to believe it. I would almost rather have believed her death a witching.”

Without anyone saying her name, we all understand that he is talking about his sister. About Abigail. And for just a moment then, I am sure I feel her small shape. Am sure that, if I look up and through the open kitchen door, I will see her standing in the garden with the sunset burning her curls into a crown of flames.


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1 Comment


Cathie Dunn
Cathie Dunn
Jun 02, 2023

Thank you so much for hosting Lucretia Grindle today.


Cathie xo

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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