About the Book:
Title: One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging
Author: Beth M. Caruso
Publisher: Ladyslipper Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Alice, a young woman prone to intuitive insights and loyalty to the only family she has ever known, leaves England for the rigid colony of the Massachusetts Bay in 1635 in hopes of reuniting with them again. Finally settling in Windsor, Connecticut, she encounters the rich American wilderness and its inhabitants, her own healing abilities, and the blinding fears of Puritan leaders which collide and set the stage for America’s first witch hanging, her own, on May 26, 1647.
This event and Alice‘s ties to her beloved family are catalysts that influence Connecticut‘s Governor John Winthrop Jr. to halt witchcraft hangings in much later years. Paradoxically, these same ties and the memory of the incidents that led to her accusation become a secret and destructive force behind Cotton Mather’s written commentary on the Salem witch trials of 1692, provoking further witchcraft hysteria in Massachusetts forty-five years after her death.
The author uses extensive historical research combined with literary inventions, to bring forth a shocking and passionate narrative theory explaining this tragic and important episode in American history.
NEW WINDSOR, BERKSHIRE,
The infant was soon to enter the world. Alsie’s increased labor pains and a sudden wave of panic made a swift announcement of her baby’s imminent arrival. Gwendolyn, the midwife, motioned with a wise smile and nod to Alsie’s cousin. Mrs. Mary Merwin Tinker and her daughters were to make the final preparations for the newborn. The lines embedded under Gwendolyn’s eyes, eyes still bright after many years of life, were a testament to her wisdom and experience.
“Girls. It’s time. Quickly…Sarah, bring the rest of Gwendolyn’s supplies to the bedside table. She’ll need the string and knives shortly. Little Mary, come and support Alsie’s back. You too, Ellen. Assist Mary. Margaret, make sure the linens are warmed and everything else is ready for the babe! We must all give our support to cousin now,” spoke Mrs. Mary Tinker, their mother.
“Yes ma’am,” they replied in unison as some sisters hurried about making sure everything was in place for the birth, and the remaining sisters stayed at Alsie’s side to comfort her.
Despite the excitement inside, a branch softly and hypnotically continued to hit the leaded glass window of the thatched cottage in a steady cadence. Alsie had already been in a trance for the past hour, the trance a woman’s body and soul become held in toward the end of labor.
About the Author
Beth M. Caruso grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent her childhood writing puppet shows and witches’ cookbooks. She became interested in French Literature and Hispanic Studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She later obtained Masters degrees in Nursing and Public Health.
Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, she helped to improve the public health of local Karen hill tribes. She also had the privilege to care for hundreds of babies and their mothers as a labor and delivery nurse.
Largely influenced by an apprenticeship with herbalist and wildcrafter, Will Endres, in North Carolina, she surrounds herself with plants through gardening and native species conservation.
Her latest passion is to discover and convey important stories of women in American history. One of Windsor is her debut novel. She lives in New England with her awesome husband, amazing children, loyal puppy, and cuddly cats. .