• Kate Wolford

Book Review: Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese


Do you, like me, love historical novels about witches? Do you also love reading about the everyday things that make a woman’s life work? Do you love the idea that there is magic/power in sewing and herb craft? And do you love the idea of such a woman living in Salem, Mass., in the early nineteenth century?


Well, there’s an excellent book out there, just for you! It’s called “Hester: A Novel,” by Laurie Lico Albanese, and you should read it. Go buy it right now.


Our heroine, Isobel, begins life in Scotland, but sails to the US with her husband Edward, ending up in Salem. And oh, Salem, you are still a hot mess more than 100 years after the witch trials. Not surprisingly, they still hate and fear anything that could possibly be witchcraft. They also have a lot of ill will, period. But our Isobel is descended from a long line of witches, and, well, she has interesting traits that make her stitching unique and fabulous. Isobel is a fabulously realized character.


I don’t want to give too much away, but the best way to sum up the big storyline is that Isobel and her fabulous talents end up being an inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” Yes, she definitely knows “Nat” Hawthorne in this book.


This book covers a lot of territory, including the Underground Railroad, but Albanese keeps every single ball in the air. Her writing style remains lively and highly readable, no matter what the subject in the book. I’m going to start reading her other books as soon as I’m done with this review.


“Hester” is absolutely one of the best books of the year. Like I said, buy it! You can find it HERE.


Thank you to NetGalley for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review.


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