Title: My Enemy’s Tears
Author: Karen Vorbeck Williams
After 20 years of research and writing, Karen put her family history into novel form. My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton is based on the historical record of her 11th great-grandmother Mary Bliss Parsons and Mary’s arch enemy Sarah Lyman Bridgeman. Their lives trace the journey of not only the English Separatists to the New World and the growth of the first settlements along the Connecticut River from Hartford and Springfield to Northampton, but the lives of women in 17th century New England as well.
The Puritans in Hartford find the wilderness a terrifying place full of warring natives, pestilences and floods, blazing comets, earthquakes and hurricanes—all portents of God’s anger - or a witch’s meddling curse.
The two women spend their married lives in the villages of Springfield and Northampton, where a youthful disagreement festers into a reason to hate and then fear each other. In a time when a woman’s worth and a man’s wealth were counted in sons, Sarah’s sons died in infancy as Mary gave birth to six sons, one after another. Sarah believed that since Mary was a witch, she made a trade-off with the Devil – her living children for Sarah’s dead children. As the years pass, Sarah accuses Mary of murder by witchcraft, prompting a trial before the Court of Assistants in Boston in 1675—17 years before the Salem witch trials.
My Enemy’s Tears looks at two lives—one blessed and one cursed—and the transcendent power of forgiveness.
Praise: "Beautifully written, well researched, riveting."
—Patricia Cumming, poet, founding member of Alice James Books
Publisher: Published October 15th 2011 by Wheatmark (first published January 1st 2011)
Synopsis: In the 1630s two young girls fresh from England settle with their families in the Connecticut River Valley. There, on the frontier of a terrifying wilderness surrounded by warring natives, they must face the rigors of life among the Puritans -- a people steeped in superstition and piety. Based on the lives of Mary Bliss Parsons and Sarah Lyman Bridgeman and the men they loved, this fictional account of a true story transports us to a land founded on a dream, where life was uncertain, and where fear and jealousy would lead to ruin.
Author Biography: KAREN VORBECK WILLIAMS has lived more than thirty-five years in New England where she found the inspiration, settings, and spirit for "My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton," historical fiction based on the life of her ancestor Mary Bliss Parsons. This is her first novel. She's been an editor for fourteen years and is a prize-winning photographer.