In the Shadow of Salem

I am excited to announce the release of “In the Shadow of Salem” (The Redemption of Mehitabel Braybrooke.). After five years of research and writing, my historical novel is now available for pre-order on for a sizeable discount before the official release date of June 18, 2018.

“In the Shadow of Salem” is a historical novel about the life of Mehitabel Braybrooke, a Puritan woman born in 1652 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Mehitabel was accused of crimes−the first for arson and the second for witchcraft. History has not been kind to Mehitabel, but what was the real story behind her scurrilous reputation? Would she ever be redeemed from her lifelong curse? Or was Mehitabel as wicked as her numerous Essex Court Records imply?

This novel is the first time any author has written about Mehitabel’s amazing life from birth to the end of her life. Mehitabel Braybrooke Downing is one of the 200 people accused of witchcraft during the Salem trials, but she found herself in the courts on more than a few other occasions. I’m grateful that she generated so many Essex Country court and town records and that she happens to be my 9th great-grandmother!

Please visit the pages on my website dedicated to Puritan history, articles about the real people who are characters in the novel, and “The ABC’s of Crime and Punishment in Puritan New England.

Link for ordering:


5 thoughts on “In the Shadow of Salem

  1. Thank you Donna. For your research and hard work on our ancestor. Mehitabel Brabrooke/Downing. She is my 8th great grandmother. James


  2. Hi Donna! Do you descend from John and Mehitable? I am looking forward to reading your book. I would love to talk to you about my recent discoveries about the Downings! I have been doing YDNA research with direct male descendants of Lawence Clinton, a notorious character in Ipswich where he was charged with rape, fathered at least one “bastard,” and committed bigamy. His poor wife Rachel who finally got a divorce after years of trying, also lived in Chebacco, and was accused of witchcraft as well. I believe but must confirm that John and or Mehitable spoke on Rachel’s behalf at a hearing.
    Anyway, from the YDNA matches to Lawrence’s descendants, I believe I am about to prove that David Downing was actually Lawrence’s son. Whether the Downings raised Rachel and Lawrence’s son or whether Lawrence and Mehitable are the parents may be impossible to prove. Final YDNA analysis on the Downing descendant is pending but the preliminary evidece, along with chronology and location are compelling! I would love to talk to you about it!


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