One of Windsor

The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
358 Pages
Reviewed on 04/12/2018
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Author Biography

Author Beth M. Caruso grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent her childhood writing puppet shows and witches’ cookbooks. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature and Hispanic Studies from the University of Cincinnati. She later obtained Masters degrees in Nursing and Public Health.
Beth was shocked and disturbed to learn that the first person to die for witchcraft crimes in colonial America was Alice Young of Windsor, Connecticut in 1647. Beth became determined to research the largely unknown history about the case and present Alice's story to readers in One of Windsor. Few written records remain, so Beth applied in-depth detective work to find out Alice's probable history. Despite many historical clues about the event, gaps remained and had to be filled in with creative inventions. Beth is currently working with others to create a memorial for Connecticut's witch trial victims.
Aside from writing, Beth’s interests include aromatherapy, travel, and gardening. Her latest passion is to discover and convey important stories of women in American history. One of Windsor is her debut novel. She is currently finishing her second novel, a story that takes place in colonial New Amsterdam and Connecticut. Beth lives in New England with her family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

It’s always fascinating to see how an author has created an absorbing and informative story around some obscure historical person. That is what Beth M Caruso has done so very well in One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging. That so-called witch was Alice (Alse) Young, and by the time you close the book, you’ll shake your head and wonder how many other young women, who were convicted and hanged in the Salem witch trials in the late 1600s, were railroaded as Alice was. Historical fiction, yes, but based on very real and unfounded beliefs held against women as a result of religious extremism.

Despite the author’s extensive research into this era and into Alice, Beth M Caruso could find very little about her heroine. Hence, beginning with her birth in England and eventual move with her employers to New England, specifically Massachusetts, and later Connecticut, Caruso recreates a likely timeline for Alice, typical of young women in the 1600s. Alice is polite, sweet, a little shy, and in the new land she learns about herbs and natural healing through Indian women and her own employer. She marries, has a daughter, and life is reasonably good. She is loved by her original and adopted families, and appreciated by many for her gift of healing…until the pestilence (influenza) breaks out and people start dying all over the place. Alice’s life suddenly takes a very bad turn: betrayed even by those who supposedly love her, she becomes the scapegoat for the real evil-doers, and so ends a good woman’s life at the end of a noose. Tragic.

Through dialogue and storytelling by various characters, Caruso has woven a wealth of information about the life and times of this historical period into One of Windsor. The plot is solid, characters are realistic, and Alice is loveable. As much as this is fiction about bygone days, one comes away realizing how little has changed: a little knowledge is, and always has been, a dangerous thing; gossip destroys, and religious extremism causes untold harm. Enjoy!