The Salty Rose by Beth M. Caruso

The Salty Rose by Beth M. Caruso
Publisher: Lady Slipper Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Rose

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.

The story starts off slowly, with first person chapters from Marie du Trieux telling her granddaughter about her life (my favorite part of the story) and chapters in third person describing the relationship and mentorship between John Tinker and John Winthrop Jr. There was a lot of detail given to Tinker and Winthrop and, at times, I felt lost and wondered where the actual story was going.

However, once the author got into the heart of the story – the witchcraft trial – the pacing picked up. I am not very familiar with the witch trials in Salem, and this was an interesting look at the same period. This middle section was my favorite part of the book. I wasn’t familiar with the telling of this purported witch’s story, so I was anxious to learn her fate and how John Tinker and Marie played a part in the trial.

Can I first say that I loved the character of Marie. She made the book for me. It was interesting to read the author’s notes at the end of the book and discover that she, along with the other major players, were actual people. The author did a good job of taking the historical facts of the characters’ lives and creating an interesting story about witchcraft in the early colonies.

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Movie Review: The Tattooist

The Tattooist
Director: Michael Wong
Writer: Michael Wong
Stars: Yanhu Wang, Li Lu, Myra Mala

Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Astilbe

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To be honest with you, at first I thought this was a trailer for a full-length movie. Just like in “The Story of 90 Coins,” the pacing of this tale was incredibly quick. The audience was given the exact amount of information we needed to know what was going on and nothing more.

Mr. Wong is a director I’ve discovered pretty recently, and I’ve become a big fan of the way he weaves scenes together. He expects his audience to pay attention and do a little bit of work putting the pieces of the plot together. Those are both good things in my opinion, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he might come up with next.

The background music was surprisingly cheerful and the exact opposite of what I would generally expect to hear while watching this genre. It provided a nice contrast to the truly frightening things happening to the characters, especially since the audience was given so much leeway in coming up with our own theories about why such happy music was chosen for this tale.

I should warn you that this is a dark and gory story. Don’t be fooled by the short run time. Every single second is important, and many of those moments contain images of people being seriously harmed. This is only something I’d recommend for mature viewers, but it is definitely something worth checking out if you’re an adult who loves horror.