The #spotlight in on The Devil’s Glove by Lucretia Grindle @cathiedunn #HistoricalFiction 

The Devil’s Glove by Lucretia Grindle released on May 1 in the historical fiction.

Northern New England, summer, 1688.
Salem started here.

A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.

Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They’re known as healers taught by the local tribes – and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.

Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.

As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew – about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.

Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL’S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village’s dark and mysterious past?

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Author Bio:

Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.

Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine.

Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC FrontRow’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation. She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.

Magic and Power

I thought a lot about magic and power when I was writing The Devil’s Glove. And I thought a lot about mothers and daughters. And ghosts, and how we are haunted by the past and present and even future versions of ourselves.

In the earliest picture I have of my mother, she is standing in a garden wearing a white dress. She was half Apache, and you can see it in her face. She is smiling, but there is a knowingness in it, especially for a child so young. She can’t have been more than six or seven when the photo was taken. Years and years and a continent later, we lived in England in a very old house that dated from 1420. We hadn’t been there long when strange things started to happen. Doors opened, and then closed. When I asked my mother about it – I was seven by this time – she simply shrugged, and said it was John and he was lonely. I had the distinct impression that she knew him, but I thought I’d better not ask. Shortly after that we all began to hear weird noises. Footsteps in the upstairs hall when no one was upstairs, that kind of thing. And then, people started seeing the little girl. 

She would appear, sometimes during the day, sometimes at night. The first person who saw her was my cousin Louis. He was a surfer dude from California and the least ‘woo-woo’ person I’ve ever known. He said she didn’t really bother him, he just woke up one morning, and there she was, standing beside his bed in a white night gown, looking sad. This went on for about ten years. And then my mother died, and we never saw anything else in that house again. When she went, she took her ghosts with her. And I’ve always wondered if maybe they were all her. If, somehow, what we were seeing and hearing was all the echoes and versions of herself.

My mother was born on a reservation. She had no birth certificate, and she never told me my grandmother’s name. She was raised white in a white family, so that was how she invented herself. She became the person her circumstances told her she had to be. But inside her, like coils in a shell, she carried all her different pasts. Including the little girl in the white dress. And it gave her a certain kind of power, as if there were layers of her, and at any time, you might see all, or none, of them. I always felt like she might disappear before my eyes. Or reappear. So I wasn’t really surprised when I saw her after she died. Or heard her voice on my answering machine. Back then, we still had answering machines. In a lot of ways, it just felt normal. Because she’d always been in more places, and more times, than most people were at once.

That was what I thought about when I wrote about Rachel, who is also Deliverance, who is also Resolve’s mother. I wanted to catch something of the power, the very real magic, of the love between them, and also what I would call the ‘un-knowability’ which is also a kind of magic, and very definitely powerful. Resolve can sense her mother, feel the pull of her as if they are connected by an invisible cord. But the more strongly she senses her, the more she also begins to understand that there are somethings about her mother that she does not know, and may never know. Then, little by little, she comes to realize that the same is true about herself.

The late 17th century was a weird time, especially in New England. Worlds were rubbing up against one another. We know now, who won and who lost, which worlds prevailed. But we are looking backward. At the time, the people living on the coast of Maine were living forward, and on a frontier, a borderland between the Native world and the European world. It must have felt like a close run thing. They didn’t know which would prevail. Whose god, or gods, were more powerful? Which magic would win out?

In The Devil’s Glove Resolve’s mother inhabits, and embodies both worlds; the Native one and the European one. A solitary figure yet deeply bound to her only child, she walks in the borderland between every day life and something else. As a healer, a physician, she is unusually powerful because she can mean the difference between life and death. As a mother, she is a powerful guardian, which also makes her something darker – a force that will fight when what she loves is threatened.

Always both things at once, a darkness and a light, Resolve’s mother is two versions of herself – the woman who speaks Native languages and understands Native power, and the goodwife, the keeper of the hearth, the voice of reason and kindness. She is both ghosts, both shadows. And one of her most difficult jobs is to introduce her daughter, Resolve, to the ghosts and shadows that lay in wait inside her, and that she must come to know and learn to harness if she is to survive the coming storm that will be the Salem witch trials.

Magic, and its power and its possibilities, are central to two more characters in The Devil’s Glove. One is the shaman, Yellow Bird, who heals Resolve and also bestows her with another identity, and power, The Night Spirit, which he gives to her whether she wants it or not. Some of the peculiar magic of power is that we don’t always get to choose whether we get it or not. In understanding her gift from Yellow Bird, Resolve will come to understand some things about herself, not all of which she likes, or even fully grasps. The other character, Abigail Hobbs, is completely at home with the power she is wielding. Or, is she?

I think children can be uniquely terrifying precisely because they are children. Free of the restraints of the adult world, they are still walking in a territory full of all sorts of possibilities. Sometimes in a child’s world, what can be done should be done – with terrifying results. The fact that Abigail is beautiful, also gives her an unique power, which makes her all the more disturbing, at least to Resolve, who is stuck with the power of Abigail’s love for her. A love that, like her mother’s, offers protection, and unlike her mother’s may be hazardous, and she is not at all sure she wants.

As for my own mother, I have not seen her for years. She stopped appearing after I quit my job, loaded my dog in my car, and drove and rode nearly a thousand miles chasing her past and the past of ancestors. Sometimes during that journey I thought I discovered who she was. I thought I found the little girl in the white dress. Other times, I wondered if she existed at all, or if she was only something that I had imagined. A ghost. A shadow.  A story. Or another version of myself, summoned from the magic of the past. And maybe that’s why she sent me, down all those roads, so I could keep finding her, and finding her again in all my unwritten stories.

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