Warwick's will host Laurie Lico Albanese as she discusses her new book, Hester, in conversation with Sarah Penner.
Isobel Gamble is a young Scottish seamstress carrying generations of secrets. When her husband’s opium addiction and debts force them to flee Edinburgh, they sail off to America in the early 1800s. But only days after they arrive in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic - leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.
When Isobel meets the handsome, aspiring young writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to one another. Nat is a man haunted by his ancestors’ role in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, while Isobel is an unusually gifted needleworker troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward's safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow bewitchingly closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller - the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which, and who holds the greater power?
In this sensuous and hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples with our country's complicated past and learns that America's ideas of freedom and liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven with Isobel and Nathaniel's story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a "real" American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England, and atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of "unusual" women being accused of witchcraft. Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Hester is a timeless tale of art, ambition, and desire that examines the roots of female creative power and the men who try to shut it down.
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Tuesday, October 4 - 4:00 PM