Calling all historical fiction fans – do you want to read fiction set in Beverly? Come to our historical fiction author panel and meet local authors who’ve written novels based right in our backyard! Terri McFadden, John Cuffe, and Gail Balentine will be talking all things local historical fiction!
THE BONES CRY OUT
Against the backdrop of 17th century witchcraft in Puritan New England, the historical mystery The Bones Cry Out follows Sarah Hale, wife of Reverend John Hale, as she tries to discover if her dear friend Christian has killed herself or was murdered.
In Beverly, Massachusetts in 1689, the body of young wife and mother, Christian Trask, is discovered by her husband in the field behind their barn, her throat torn out. The authorities find she killed herself while under the influence of Satan. Horrified and grieving, Sarah refuses to believe that Christian would turn to the Evil One or take her own life. Despite the danger to herself, Sarah sets out to prove it. Secrets, lies and witchcraft are uncovered as Sarah searches for the truth.
The Bones Cry Out is a historical novel based on actual events, with many of the characters drawn from people who lived in Beverly more than 300 years ago. Witchcraft and mystery culminate in the shadow of the gallows during the Salem Witchcraft trials of 1692.
The year is 1774. His Excellency Thomas Gage, newly appointed Royal Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony by King George III, is the prestigious passenger aboard HMS Lively. In his pocket, he carries Parliament’s bill intended to close the port of Boston until reparations are paid for the cargo of tea dumped into the harbor months earlier. Its inflammatory provisions will instead set the residents of Boston and the North Shore towns on a path to war with the mother country. The frigate’s last port of call before venturing across the broad Atlantic Ocean is Waterford, Ireland. Two young Irishmen, Sean Barry, landsman, and the fisherman Connor Rutherford, have likewise journeyed to this vital maritime hub. They seek employment and a future free of English oppression. Before they can embark on their chosen paths, a sharp-eyed naval officer spots them. Keenly aware of his warship’s pressing need for able-bodied men, he orders the pair seized. Sean and his closest mate are forced to serve those who occupy their home country while they plot their escape. They’ll soon face another fateful decision. Post landfall in the colonies, will they throw in their lot with their new companions, maligned as the ‘rebellious rabble’ of Massachusetts?
HARMONY IN WINSLET
Harmony in Winslet is the first in a trilogy of Jane Harmony Mysteries that are set in WW Il. It follows a Massachusetts General Hospital nurse as she’s drawn inexorably into a murder investigation in her hometown. Harmony at Strathmore is the second book where she finds herself again in the middle of a
murder investigation – this time with potentially grave consequences for a secret western Massachusetts army base.
Jane has always been opposed to limits and has never accepted the hard and fast roles society tries to apply to women. With the advent of war, those roles expand greatly in a short period of time out of necessity. For many women this means taking on men’s jobs while they are away. For Jane, her first ‘case’ is taken out of desperation to help her brother and her second because of a request she cannot refuse. Courage comes in many forms. Not only those who leave to fight in a war serve – on the homefront, many ordinary citizens tap deep into resources they did not know they had, including joining in the struggle for democracy.
T L McFadden is the author of the historical fiction novel Han: River of Justice, 2023, set in 19th century Korea. She has also written many non-fiction articles based on Beverly’s rich history, some of which are included in a volume published by Historic Beverly in Chronicles of a Coastal Town, 2018. She also collaborated in writing and served as editor for A Park for the Ages: Beverly’s Lynch Park, 2018. She lives in Beverly with her husband Ed. Two of their four children and their families live nearby.
John J Cuffe is a retired business executive living on the North Shore of Boston. Long a student of American history, he wrote his first historical novel, Forever, by Side, about Elisha Benton, a Tolland, Connecticut resident who fought and died during the American Revolution. John is currently completing a trilogy of historical novels that cover the years 1774-1776. They follow the character, Sean Barry, from his impressment aboard a British warship in The Landsman, to his service with the 14 th Continental, a regiment comprised of Marblehead and Beverly troops that proved indispensable to George Washington in 1776. The three works illuminate the key historical events that transpired along the North Shore, and the pivotal roles played by the area’s citizen soldiers and sailors during the Revolution’s critical early years.
Gail Balentine is a lifelong Beverly resident whose love of reading was fostered at the Beverly Public Library. She is a retired nurse who always wanted to see if she could write a book that would hold people’s interest. To learn how, she began by taking classes and reading all the books about ‘how to write’ that she could find. Actually publishing writing projects began after she joined what is now Historic Beverly. With Terri McFadden’s encouragement, she contributed to a monthly newsletter, and, along with others, wrote articles for two publications – Historic Beverly Chronicles of a Coastal City and A Park for the Ages, Beverly’s Lynch Park.