THE BANNS HAD been posted on the Meeting House door. Young Joseph Parsons was to wed Elizabeth Strong. In Northampton, when the eldest son of a wealthy man married the daughter of a church elder, the whole town was invited to the celebration. Because of its nearness to mown meadowland with room enough for townsfolk to ramble, all parties agreed that Joseph Parsons’ house was the best location for the wedding feast, though some in the town planned to stay away in protest.
I was delighted to discover the book My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton by Karen Vorbeck Williams includes the wedding of Joseph Parsons and Elizabeth Strong, daughter of Elder John Strong and Abigail Ford. The book goes on to state that the bride’s family was not opposed to a little merry-making, and we continue the wedding through Chapter XVI.
The book is based on the author’s ancestor Mary Bliss Parsons, who as the mother of Joseph Parsons became our Elizabeth Strong’s mother in law.
I have not yet read the entire book. Here is the publisher’s description:
She was real. She was rich and beautiful. She was tried as a witch in 1675–and survived.
Based on the lives of Mary Bliss Parsons and Sarah Lyman Bridgeman, My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton, takes us back to life in the Puritan settlements along the Connectict River, a terrifying wilderness full of warring natives, natural wonders and disasters–portents of God’s anger or a witch’s meddling curse.
Mary and Sarah grow up amid Puritan superstition and piety, busy with their household chores, one imagining a life different from her mother’s and the other eager to marry and bear sons. They spend their married lives in the villages of Springfield and Northampton, where a youthful disagreement festers into a reason to hate and then to fear. As the years pass, one accuses the other of murder by witchcraft, prompting a trial before the Court of Assistants in Boston–17 years before the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
This fictional account of a true story describes two lives in conflict–one cursed and one blessed–and the transcendent power of forgiveness.
My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton took 1st place for general fiction at the New England Book Festival, January 2012.
About the Author
KAREN VORBECK WILLIAMS has lived more than thirty-five years in New England where she found the inspiration, settings, and spirit for My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton, historical fiction based on the life of her ancestor Mary Bliss Parsons. This is her first novel. She’s been an editor for fourteen years and is a prize-winning photographer.