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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