Scarlet Widow (Beatrice Scarlet #1) by Graham Masterton

Beatrice Scarlet was raised by her apothecary father. From him, she learned to mix a wide variety of ingredients in medicines that could help or harm. Despite her knowledge though, she is an orphan at 16.

Some years later, Beatrice has married a preacher and the two have made their lives in the wilds of a new country. Things have been peaceful for quite some time but that peace is shattered when a group of pigs is found dead of no apparent cause. Each of the pigs has a tiny piece of looking-glass beneath their tongue and according to scripture this is the work of Satan himself.

But things do not add up and Beatrice wonders if perhaps this is the work of man instead.

Scarlet Widow is one of those books where at times it was easy to read and other times the subject matter made it difficult to continue. History hasn’t always been kind to women and it is quite obvious in Scarlet Widow. The events of Salem left many afraid of witches; it was too easy to point the finger and to give in to mass hysteria. This is a recurring point in Scarlet Widow, with many members of the village accusing unseen demons and spirits rather than even consider the thought that one of them could possibly commit such awful acts.

I will warn my more sensitive readers that there a rape. It is described in some detail and could be potentially triggering for some. While the scene itself was is a crucial part of the narrative, I still found it a bit unnerving.

On the whole, Scarlet Widow is a pretty good book. The only real faults I had were with the rape scene I mentioned above and the title of the book itself. I think a better title could have been found as it really gives the ending of the book away.

While I enjoyed reading Scarlet Widow, I do not know if I will be continuing this series.

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