From Medieval Book Reviews
Father of Lies
by Ann Turner
What would it be like to live as a fourteen year old girl in Salem
Village in 1692?
Restrained in the color of one's wardrobe, in activities, and in all
things, how would a free spirit see the town? In all things,
women's lives are ruled by their fathers and by the influence of the
town's minister, a reverend energetically concerned with rooting out
the sinister, evil presence of the devil. When afflictions affect
three girls in the village, suddenly the town turns in on itself.
Accusations of witchcraft are leveled against those who are
familiar. Fourteen year old Lidda sees visions of a man
Lucian. Is he the devil? With the town in such a frenzy,
how can she possibly tell anyone of her visions? Lidda chafes
against the rules of Puritan society. Can she speak out for the
truth without risking her life?
FATHER OF LIES describes the events of the Salem witch trials through
the eyes of an adolescent girl who challenges the prevailing social
mores with her desire for freedom and her ability to question the
prevailing assumptions of her peers and the adults as well.
Throughout the narrative, Ann Tuner maintains a sense of mystery.
Who is Lucian? Is Lidda too affected by the same afflictions as
the other girls? Ann Turner does not resolve these questions, but
rather leaves the questions for the reader to interpolate from the
narrative itself. At the end, the author talks about bipolar
disorder but the narrative itself nor the subsequent analysis does not
deflate the mystery. Rather than reducing the Salem witch trails
into a simplistic explanation, the author takes the reader into the
narrator's vision. For modern readers, FATHER OF LIES is a story
of a young woman who stands up for what is right even in the midst of
her own confusion. Lidda has a core or moral compass which cannot
be shaken by those around her or by what is within her. FATHER OF
LIES recounts this historical period through a unique lens, a lens
which makes a reader feel that they themselves are present.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I could not help but wish the book
had been a bit longer. Ann Turner does an excellent job at taking
a reader into the scene with a character's whose perspective is quite
unique. As soon as I felt immersed in that world and connected
with the narrator, the story ended.
FATHER OF LIES is recommended for readers, young adult and
adult, who have an interest in this historical period. The author
combines historical research and fictional imagination to make a reader
see the history through fresh eyes.
Reviewed by Merrimon,
Merrimon Book Reviews