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The Secret Life of Mary White: Darkness Into Light by Lenaye Marsten

A poignant exploration of the intricacies of personal growth, courage, and survival…

Inspired by a true story from the 17th century Piscataqua region of New England, Marsten’s affecting debut follows a woman’s attempt to find refuge from her tragic reality. Young Mary White has inherited her grandmother’s gift of healing. But with the fearful and ignorant in the town linking her healing craft to witchcraft and magic, Mary needs to tread carefully. Marsten’s picture of the 17th century ignorance and cruelty includes disturbing accounts of violence, chauvinism, bigotry, and hatred for the unexplained. The gift of healing that runs in Mary’s maternal family helps build a foreboding sense of the inevitable as the Whites are forced to reckon with harsh realities around them, among them the family’s displacement, living in constant anxiety and fear, Mary’s struggle to come to terms with people’s distrust of her healing ability. Told in third-person omniscient voice, each chapter takes readers deep into the heart of Mary’s dilemmas as she endures distrust, suspicion, intolerance, disparity, displacement, and violence. As Mary grapples with hatred and narrow-mindedness of people and whether remaining true to her duty as a gifted healer is worth the trouble (or is even possible), the narrative tosses readers through a series of dizzying revelations. The accounts of Mary’s reckoning with her family history are poignant, and the details of her healing practices are sharply drawn and rooted in the era. Throughout, Marsten delves into themes of familial ties, friendship, love, compassion, grief, mortality, courage, resistance, and survival. A poignant and meticulously researched story of how a courageous woman coped with hatred and intolerance of the masses.

The Secret Life of Mary White: Darkness Into Light

Lenaye Marsten

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Pub date October 9, 2020

ISBN 979-8694118279

Price $24.95 (USD) Hardcover, $16.99 Paperback, 7.94 Kindle edition

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