When Light Breaks Through takes us beyond the witch trials to tell a riveting, expansive story of what happened in Salem Village. In 1692, twelve-year-old Ann Putnam becomes notorious as a ringleader of the "afflicted children" whose accusations of witchcraft against the people of Massachusetts and Maine lead to twenty executions and untold misery. Five years later, Joseph Green, a young schoolteacher who is in love and eager to marry, takes on the ministry of Salem Village that no one else wants and sets about mending the bitter discord in the church and the village that the witch trials have intensified. As Joseph marries Elizabeth and they enter the life of the village, he gradually earns the respect and trust of his congregation, eventually taking some dramatic actions that move the people to confront their future together as a community.
Nine years after Joseph's arrival, Ann asks his help, seeking forgiveness and the chance to become part of the community that has shunned her since the devastating effects of her actions during the witch trials. Together, they delve into the darkness of her past, uncovering startling truths about her family and her childhood motivations. Standing before the neighbors whose loved ones she has sent to jail or to their deaths, she makes an appeal that could finally unite the people in forgiveness.
The compelling narrative takes us from what begin as adolescent games invented by Ann's friend Abigail Williams, the other ringleader in the witch trials, to the intense, often shocking drama of the trials themselves, and to the small farming village in 17th-century Massachusetts where Joseph Green pursues his quest to unite a bitterly divided people.
When Light Breaks Through is a fact-based historical novel. Its characters are based on real people. Its account of the witch trials and the public events surrounding them is grounded in public documents and historical research.
About the Author
Brenda Murphy is the author of more than twenty books. Recently she has been writing biography, memoir, and biographical fiction. Her latest books include Becoming Carlotta: A Biographical Novel (2018), based on the life of the actress Carlotta Monterey, Eugene O'Neill Remembered (2017, with George Monteiro), a biography in documents, and After the Voyage: An Irish American Story (2016), historical fiction based on the experience of her immigrant family in the Boston area from 1870 until the 1930s. After teaching at universities in New York and Connecticut, Brenda now lives in Maryland where she enjoys writing full time surrounded by deer and horse farms.