Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

Published: 2021 Genre: Historical fiction. 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Penguin Random House 3. Atropa belladonna [Public Domain] via Wikipedia 4. Book [Public Domain] via PxHere

Mary Deerfield is married unhappily to Thomas in a seventeenth century Puritan community in Boston. She applies to the court for a divorce, but she experiences opposition in the patriarchal community, and is targeted anonymously with witchcraft symbols. She is determined to discover who it is, and at the same time rid herself of her abusive husband.

”Did other men treat their wives the way Thomas treated her?” 

“Hour of the Witch” by Chris Bohjalian
  • Glanceabook: “The Puritan world of seventeenth century Boston has been meticulously researched to create an authentic setting, and with vivid storytelling, the author arouses in the reader feelings of fearfulness for Mary, anger at Thomas, and indignation at the community’s attitudes that allow Mary to be victimised. This is a riveting historical thriller.”
  • Washington Post: “Bohjalian is not only a talented storyteller; he understands women, and it shows in the insightful and empathetic way in which he tells their stories. Historical fiction lives and dies by the details (there is a well-known syndrome among writers called “I’ve done my research and now you’re going to pay . . .”), and while the book is as thick with details as chowder is with clams, the specifics are handled with great skill and delicacy. The book is a thriller in structure, and a real page-turner, the ending both unexpected and satisfying.”
  • Publishers Weekly: “With its exploration of themes including domestic abuse, toxic masculinity, and mass hysteria, the novel feels like anything but a period piece. Bohjalian fans and newcomers alike will be satisfied.”


“Before winter was done – if not sooner – she would have her pound of flesh.

“We separated and came here to this wilderness, and so far we have shown only that we are as flawed and mortal here as we were across the ocean. There is no act of horror or violence of which man is not capable.”

Author: Chris Bohjalian


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