The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry wrapped me in a warm blanket of mysticism, mystery, intrigue, history, jealousy, love and a thousand other feelings for about a week as I devoured the story of four young women that are descendants of four girls hung as witches in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts. The story stand on a firm foundation of historical fact as the original young women were quite real as was their dark fate. Were they really witches or innocent young women with an enemy that had more power and held the right ear in the community? This story takes that line of thought and gives it a turn or two along the way and in the end you find yourself feeling heartache for their loss regardless of your opinion of their leanings in faith.
Having never read the Lace Reader despite having my eyes drawn to it repeatedly shortly after its release, I now know I MUST read that one to gain more insight into these richly drawn, deeply flawed characters. They are like family now which made leaving their circle all that much harder to do. Only a few of the characters from book one are carried forward into this book but that doesn’t make it any less captivating for the reader as these characters have a story of their own to tell.
The Fifth Petal can definitely be read along without the preliminary story from book one, but why would you want to when such fascinating people exist in both? If you have read The Lace Reader then you really should read The Fifth Petal though how much closure it will bring is hazy at best. Perhaps with a couple of the characters, it may bring some, but with others, well, let’s leave that open to debate.