Summary: Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were? If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history is about to repeat itself.
In the 1690s, the Salem Witch Trials consumed the town of Salem, Massachusetts in a frenzy of accusations, mass hysteria, and executions. There’s a reason the Witch Trials still loom large in the popular imagination. They demonstrate the very basest bits of human nature: the instinct to raise oneself up by pushing others down, and the tendency of ordinary people to remain silent out of fear, allowing astonishing atrocities to go unchecked. In How to Hang a Witch, we meet Samantha Mather, modern-day descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Witch Trials. Her coming to Salem triggers a series of events that parallel the horrors of the Trials, and she must work with the descendants of the accused witches and the ghost who haunts her house to break the cycle of violence they represent. Author Adriana Mather, herself an actual descendant of Cotton Mather, draws keen parallels between the Trials and modern-day bullying, demonstrating the ways that “group silence can be a death sentence”. Samantha is a fierce and winning heroine, and the setting and events of the story are presented with a creepy verisimilitude that had this scaredy-cat sleeping with the lights on. A terrific, involving read that is sure to ignite many discussions.
How to Hang a Witch is out now.