Down Salem Way
Prequel to Loving Husband Trilogy
by Meredith Allard
Genre: historical/paranormal/sweet romance
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Date of Publication: 6/25/2019
ISBN: paperback 978-0578500645
Number of pages: 336
Word Count: 93,000
Cover Artist: LFD Designs
How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?
In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.
But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?
Down Salem Way is the long-awaited prequel to the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy.
Topic: What is it about this book that makes it special?
Down Salem Way is the prequel to the Loving Husband Trilogy, so the story itself is special because it was inspired by the trilogy, mainly the first book, Her Dear and Loving Husband, which is set in both present day Salem, Massachusetts as well as Salem during the witch hunts in 1692. Her Dear and Loving Husband is one of those books that’s hard to explain without giving a lot away, but I will say that Down Salem Way fills in the bits about the Salem witch hunts that Her Dear and Loving Husband leaves out. The truth is, Down Salem Way wouldn’t exist without the amazing fans of the Loving Husband Trilogy. After I finished writing Her Loving Husband’s Return, the final book in the series, I thought my time with James and Sarah Wentworth was done. But fans kept asking for more. For as long as I year I said no because the story is pretty well wrapped up. But the fans kept asking for more James and Sarah books. Finally, I came up with the idea for Down Salem Way as a way to talk more about James and his wife’s experiences during the Salem Witch Trials. Mainly, this book is special because it’s the fans who wanted it to exist, so I wrote it for them.
Down Salem Way is also special because people continue to be fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials. There’s something about the fact that we’ll never know exactly what happened in Salem in 1692 with all the witch accusations and the executions that makes us still wonder about it today. Writing about the Salem witch hunts has been my way of trying to make sense of them. After all, we still deal with many of the same issues today—false accusations, fake news, everyone jumping on the bandwagon whether or not they’re acting on accurate information. Although the witch hunts took place in the late 17th century, in many ways they feel very real today.
“Would you like a lesson?” I asked.
“Aye,” Lizzie said. “Thank you.”
Lizzie has progressed well in her reading. And quickly too. I believe our nightly lessons help bond us more quickly than we might have otherwise since our readings prompt long discussions where we learn much about each other. After we read the rest of the passage together, I did the impossible: I cajoled my wife into reading aloud on her own.
“No one has such a lovely voice as you,” I said.
Lizzie laughed. “You think your sweet tongue will persuade me to read alone? When you are such a learned man?” She turned away, her cheeks flushed.
“But you know how I love listening to you speak. Tis like hearing a serenata by Alessandro Stradella.”
I reached for our favorite volume of poetry. “Tis time, Lizzie. Read to me.”
Lizzie turned the book in her hands, over and over. Finally, she nodded. She tentatively opened the book. “What would you like to hear?”
Lizzie’s smile rivals the brightest sunshine. She opened to the page, exhaled, and read, haltingly, with pauses, some from a struggle to sound out or recall the words, some from embarrassment that she read alone. After the first two lines, her voice grew in confidence.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Lizzie closed the book. “Tis true, you know.”
“What is?” I asked.
“This poem, To My Dear and Loving Husband. Tis as though everything I feel for you has been written here, by this woman, a magistrate’s wife I’ll never meet. You are…” Lizzie blushed, hot along her jaw. I touched her cheek and lifted her head so I could see into her eyes. “If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. That is how…”
“Tis all right, Lizzie. You can tell me anything.”
“That is how I feel about you. You are my dear and loving husband, James Wentworth.”
I knelt before Lizzie, pressing her hand to my lips.
“I knew the moment I saw you over the supper table that you were the one for me. I cannot imagine waking up every morning for the rest of my life without looking into your beautiful eyes. I cannot imagine walking through this world without knowing that you were here waiting for me. I cannot imagine having the strength to breathe without you. You are my dear and loving wife, Elizabeth Wentworth. And I love you. I shall never leave you. Ever.”I swept my wife into my arms and carried her away.
About the Author:
Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical love story The Loving Husband Trilogy and the sweet Victorian romance When It Rained at Hembry Castle, named a best historical novel of 2016 by IndieReader. Meredith's latest release is Down Salem Way, the long-awaited prequel to The Loving Husband Trilogy set around the Salem witch hunts. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.