Condemn Me Not
By Heather B. Moore
Condemn Me Not
By Heather B. Moore
In CONDEMN ME NOT: ACCUSED OF WITCHCRAFT, USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.
Check out the Reviews!
Review by Adriel Wiggins
Heather B. Moore’s Condemn Me Not is an incredible historical fiction-ish. Heather is a direct descendent of Susannah North Martin, one of the many women hung during the Salem Witch Trials.
As time and distance and research have taught us, the Salem Witch Trials were a travesty of prejudice taken to the extreme. While Condemn Me Not does highlight the fact that the Trials were primarily the result of a family moving into the area and taking over everything by using the trials to get rid of obstacles, it is definitely not the main focus of the book.
Condemn Me Not switches back and forth between Susannah’s time in the Salem prison leading up to her hanging and when she was a young woman, first meeting her husband George Martin. Their love story, while occurring under the strict rules of the Puritan lifestyle, is not staid and boring. It is a truly beautiful story of enduring love and faithfulness. And while Heather didn’t exactly have all of her great (many times over) grandmother’s diaries to work with, she had a lot of evidence to base Susannah and George’s story on.
Learning a bit more about the Trials, alongside this beautiful love story was very interesting. I wasn’t sure at first that I’d like it. After all, wrongful imprisonment paralleling a Puritan courtship? Sounds thrilling. (note the sarcasm in that last sentence.) But it truly was. Heather balanced Susannah’s fiery personality with her compassion for people. It was much more balanced than I originally thought it would be. And the excerpts from the Trials themselves were more interesting than I had expected.
If I were to sum up this book with one quote, it would be this one. Days before her hanging, Susannah dreams George (who had been dead for seven years already) came to collect her to go home. Here’s what he looked like when he came:
“The lines around his eyes and mouth are ones that I am familiar with. They represent our years together, working side by side, raising our children, loving each other, fighting with each other. Forgiving each other.”
This was truly a beautiful love story, set in the midst of Trails. It is well worth the read.
Review by Shannon Wilcox:
I have spent my day reading Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft, a beautifully written historical fiction novel, by Heather B. Moore. Moore seamlessly intertwines the flashbacks of Susannah and George Martin’s young love story with the accusations, judgment, and hanging of Susannah. Although the accusations and trials are included, the real focus of the story is that of life, love, and family.
‘It was as if the love I knew he felt for me that he reached across space between us as if no one else was around.’ Susannah is a strong-willed, Puritan woman who finds in George a love true enough to endure the trials and tribulations of life. A life harder than most due to accusations from church and community members beginning early on in their marriage. Knowing that Susannah Martin was the 10th great grandmother of Moore, brought more meaning to this story. I felt instantly invested in the life and love created by Moore in respect to her own family member.
‘We are afraid. Afraid of life and of death. Afraid of another being stronger or wealthier or happier than we are. So we tear them down.’ Both during the Salem trials and today, this statement rings true. Moore encapsulates this very human trait both in Susannah’s story and the stories of the others surrounding her in jail. By including these other women, taken from historical records and trial documents, the full scope of how people can and will turn on each other for their own profit is in full display. ‘They do not have the courage to speak the truth, but rather they’d join in with the other accusers so that they, themselves, might be seen as innocent. Fear drives men and women to do mad things.’
This was my first time reading anything by Heather B. Moore. Moore is a beautiful writer and I am looking forward to reading more of her work!
Review by Amber Machado:
Wow! This book was phenomenal. The author has an extraordinary way incorporating many of the different elements of the heresy, the engulfing hatred, the love and all the sorrow of the witch trials. She gives a more personal insight into the emotions and feelings of the accused, what they encountered and the jail setting. But, this story is so much more than that. The author based this novel on one of her ancestors. While there are some negative events and things going on in the novel I really enjoyed the hope and smiles brought by Susannah’s and George’s romance. I loved George in the beginning. The romance was beautiful and there was soo much hope and love. Susannah was amazing I loved her determination and eagerness to help her family any way she could.
Now, I’ve read quite a few books on the Salem Witch Trials and I have to say this is the only one that broke me. Its soo uniquely different and gives the reader a more personalized insight to the events as they unfold. While this is definitely a sensitive manner I think the book can be read by probably high school and above. The death scenes while definitely tragic are not really graphic and the love scenes are pretty much PG-15 rated. I definitely recommend this book! It was so good!