Today, I am delighted to host Lucretia Grindle on her book blog tour for The Devil’s Glove. Lucretia has kindly provided an excerpt (please see below).
You can follow the full tour here: Blog Tour Page: https://thecoffeepotbookclub.blogspot.com/2023/04/blog-tour-the-devils-glove.html
The Devil’s Glove by Lucretia Grindle
Northern New England, summer, 1688.
Salem started here.
A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.
Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They’re known as healers taught by the local tribes – and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.
Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.
As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew – about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.
Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL’S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village’s dark and mysterious past?
Praise for The Devil’s Glove:
“From its opening lines this historical novel from Grindle (Villa Triste) grips with its rare blend of a powerfully evoked past, resonant characters, smart suspense, and prose touched with shivery poetry.”
~ BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick
This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4EN58l
Excerpt from The Devil’s Glove by Lucretia Grindle
We are making bread in the kitchen, lifting the dough, folding and banging it on the scrubbed surface of the table when my mother and I hear a voice ask, “Do you know me, Mistress?”
As one, we spin around.
Neither of us has said so, but we have been waiting for John Alden. Watching for his familiar form to stride down the meadow path, or appear like something conjured in the doorway telling us his errand is achieved, that Madockawando and Saint Castin have no interest in wars or raids. That we are safe.
But this is not John Alden. The man standing in our kitchen door is not much more than a boy. He has doffed his old hat and twists it as if he could wring words from it, make it speak for him instead of having to speak himself. His boots are worn and his breeches, like his face, are filthy with dust. But it’s the hands that mark him as one of the militia. It’s the grease streaks and the powder burns, black and sore looking from the loading and re-loading.
More of them arrived yesterday. Like the rest of the town, Judah and I watched them pass. All shapes and sizes, some ragged, some short, others tall. Fat men and thin boys and men who look so ordinary it is hard to tell one from the other marched down Broad Street to the Fort with Captain Blackman riding at their head, his new boots and sun burned cheeks shining with importance.
Now this tall boy stands in our door-yard looking in at us, and suddenly, even though I have not seen him for years and have never so much as traded a word with him, I do know him. This is Thaddeus Hobbs. Avis’s oldest son. Abigail’s older brother.
My mother must see it at the same time, because she nods. Her hands hover over the dough on the table before she lowers them and wipes them on her apron.
“Master Hobbs,” my mother says. But she might as well have said, I’ve been waiting for you.
Sitting at our table, Thaddeus Hobbs watches me pour the pitcher of cider as if he has never seen the stuff before. As he takes the proffered cup, I see that his hands are shaking. He is exhausted. Or terrified. Or both. Perhaps his hair was once as gold as Abigail’s. Now, it is dirty brown and in need of a barber. His eyes are blue, but softer than his sister’s, almost gray. His linen shirt is old, and sticks to him, and smells. When he lowers the cup, I pour him another. He drinks that greedily, too.
My mother mounds the dough and places it in the waiting bowl to let it rise. She nods for me to take the bowl.
I am opening the cupboard door when I hear her say, “Your mother left the world in peace.” Which is a lie. “But they called me too late,” she adds. “There was little I could do for her.”
“Or the babe.”
It is not a question. I turn, and can see my mother’s face. She looks at Thaddeus Hobbs, considering, before she nods.
“No.” She agrees. “I could do nothing for the babe. How did you know? From your father?”
He shakes his head. “From my mother.”
The words hang in the room. And it is then, looking at Thaddeus Hobbs, that my mother and I understand. He knows. I do not know how, but Avis’ son knows that her death was not a natural one. Any doubt is dispelled by his next question.
“Poison,” my mother says, after a moment. “Hellebore. In food. A stew or soup.”
“You are sure?” There is pain on his face, and also, strangely, something like relief. I do not understand why until he speaks again. “So, she was not witched?” He asks. “You are sure? You are certain of that, Mistress?”
“Witched?” My mother frowns. “Why would you think that?”
“Goody Skilling says it.”
My mother makes a face. “You have seen her?”
Thaddeus nods. “It was Goody Skilling, who told me you were at my mother’s death. She told me. Everything.”
My mother and I exchange a look. I cannot imagine what Goody Skilling’s ‘everything’ is, but I am quite certain it bears little resemblance to ours. I do not have time to ponder this, because suddenly Thaddeus Hobbs is babbling. Now that he has started, he cannot seem to stop. Words break from him like a dam giving way, tumbling and falling over one another, so roiled by the storm of his distress that their sense is hard to grasp.
“I heard the rumor, in Saco. Gossip said a woman had died here, witched. And I was afraid it was her. I wanted to come at once. But with all the trouble, I was not allowed. But I heard, and after the stories from Boston, I thought – people say, it travels. The witching travels, on the night air. And, I thought -” His words run dry, stopping almost as abruptly as they began.
My mother shakes her head. She reaches for the stool that sits beside the hearth, pulls it in front of Thaddeus Hobbs’ chair and sinks down. Taking both of his hands, holding them gently so as not to worry the burns, she looks straight into his face.
“Your mother was not witched, Thaddeus. We, too have heard the gossip.”
Of course we have. The whole world has heard how the children of a Boston family have been struck. All of them witched. Writhing in pain, and shouting, and rushing about as if their wits have been snatched and put in the Devil’s hands.
“This is not what happened here,” my mothers says, her eyes never leaving his. “Your mother’s soul was never in danger.”
Now I understand the look of relief that came over him when she told him about the hellebore. Thaddeus Hobbs has been carrying the burden of his mother’s soul, the fear that it was taken from her and she is wandering in torment, searching and searching for it in the wilderness of The Damned.
“Your mother was not witched,” my mother repeats. “She was taken from this world before her time, it is true. But by poison. Not witching. By the time I was sent for, it was too late. There was nothing I could do.”
After a moment, Thaddeus nods. His next words sound as if he is pulling them from his very depths. As if they are heavy and tied to a rope he is hauling hand over hand.
“It need not have been evil. It could have been in error.”
The hope in the words is palpable. My mother says nothing. I know what she is doing – giving him the place in his mind to believe what he will, to believe what will give him peace. But peace is not what Thaddeus Hobbs wants. His next words freeze me to the floor.
“My mother’s death could have been an error,” he says. “But it was not.”
A Little Bit About Lucretia …
Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.
Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine.
Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC FrontRow’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation.
She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lucretiagrindle Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/827521.Lucretia_Grindle
Thank you so much for hosting Lucretia Grindle today, Pam. Much appreciated.
The Coffee Pot Book Club
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