Hour of the Witch


The Hour of the Witch has tolled.

Yes, the novel may be set in 1662, but this may be the most timely novel Chris Bohjalian has ever written. Imagine The Crucible meets The Handmaid’s Tale.

A young Puritan woman–faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul–plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive historical thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary–a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony–soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. A twisting, tightly plotted thriller from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying novel of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.


“Hour of the Witch is historical fiction at its best… Insightful and empathetic… Thick with details as chowder is with clams… handled with great skill and delicacy. The book is a thriller in structure, and a real page-turner, the ending both unexpected and satisfying."

Diana Gabaldon
Washington Post Book World

“Harrowing...In the hands of a master storyteller like Bohjalian, [Hour of the Witch] is an engrossing tale of a woman who insists upon the right to navigate her life, and the consequences when she does.."

Danielle Trussoni
New York Times Sunday Book Review

“[A] knotty dilemma lies at the heart of what is, at a deeper level, a novel of psychological suspense. Can one know if one is, indeed, damned?...In Bohjalian’s deft portrayal, Mary chafes at her societal and marital confines...[Shows] how timeless some battles —and some heroines — are."

Clea Simon
the Boston Globe

“Bohjalian does an admirable job of bringing his numerous players to life in all their complexity. Mary, so mistreated by her milieu, begins to wonder if she may indeed be possessed. HOUR OF THE WITCH -- part courtroom thriller, part psychological suspense novel -- hold's a reader's rapt attention all the way to its startling conclusion."

Tom Nolan
the Wall Street Journal

“"Part thriller and part courtroom drama...HOUR OF THE WITCH is smartly wrapped in large ideas, like how women must subversively navigate a society in which they have little power, and what a justice system looks like when yoked to a fervent set of religious beliefs...Decades before the infamous Salem witch hysteria, Bohjalian shows just how easily these particular seeds of distrust can be sown."

Carol Iaciofano Aucoin

"No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and literary legend Chris Bohjalian returns with a story about Mary Deerfield, a suspected witch in 1662 Boston who, while wrestling with her own internal demons and disastrous marriage, raises suspicion that the demons aren't just in her own mind.."

Zibby Owens
Good Morning America

"A carefully-plotted journey. . .In addition to spinning the tale of a strong woman in difficult times, Bohjalian’s meticulous research transports readers back to the early years of America and all the work and hardships of daily life. . .And for Mary, living in fear that even an innocent action could be interpreted in the worst way and lead to the ultimate punishment."

Amanda St. Amand
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Themes of women’s agency in a patriarchal society are common in historical novels, but this fast-moving, darkly suspenseful novel stands out with Bohjalian’s extraordinary world-building skills. . . Will have readers racing toward the ending."

Historical Novels Review

"Chris Bohjalian's latest thriller is a nail-biting historical novel about a woman whose quest for a divorce in 1662 Boston might just end with her being branded as a witch. In Hour of the Witch, 24-year-old Mary Deerfield is desperate to escape her violent husband, Thomas. But in the New World, where every woman is under suspicion for being a witch, her desire to escape her marriage may end up sending her to the gallows if she isn't careful."

Pop Sugar

“Absolutely riveting historical fiction that reads like the most pageturning of thrillers, driven by its compelling heroine Mary Deerfield, a young wife who finds the physical and moral courage to stand up for herself in a time when women could be hung as witches... Hour of the Witch is a woman’s story, a romance, a history lesson, and a legal thriller, all of a piece. I haven’t read a novel like it in recent memory, and I doubt that I will for years to come."

Lisa Scottoline

“Bohjalian blends historical fiction with a thrilling courtroom drama. . . A fascinating and immersive read. . . What makes this novel remarkable and compulsively readable is Bohjalian’s uncanny ability to capture the Puritan perspective. . . Hour of the Witch is at once brilliantly idiosyncratic while also recognizable. This genre-defying thriller is sure to become a staple of book clubs and a favorite of historical mystery fans."

Elyse Discher

“Bohjalian’s historical novel is full of twists and turns. Though not a typical suspense novel, the story has many of the page-turning plot lines of a thriller, and is sure to keep readers enthralled. Though it’s set in the 1600s, Mary’s story resonates today, as it addresses the role religious and societal expectations can play in the lives of individuals. A must-read and highly recommended."

Library Journal

"Throughout Bohjalian’s prolific career, he has rewarded readers with indelibly drawn female protagonists, and the formidable yet vulnerable Mary Deerfield is a worthy addition to the canon. Conjuring up specters of #MeToo recriminations and social media shaming, there are twenty-first-century parallels to Bohjalian’s atmospheric Puritan milieu, and his trademark extensive research pays off in this authentic portrait of courage in the face of society’s worst impulses. Bohjalian is a perennial favorite, and this Salem Witch Hunt drama has a special magnetism.”

Carol Haggas
Booklist, starred review

"A rich and terrifying story... Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian is a grab-you-by-the-throat suspense read that both historical fiction fans and thriller lovers will devour.”

Kristyn Kusek Lewis
Real Simple

"[Bohjalian] never fail[s] to produce top-notch literary fiction. . . An unputdownable revenge thriller. . . A brilliant, intense and extremely satisfying work by a master of literary fiction who just seems to be getting better and better.”

Ray Palen
Book Reporter

"Centuries after the Salem witch trials, this misogynist trope just won't die. Hour of the Witch is set well in the past, but its witch-accusation drama feels contemporary enough to drive home how far Americans still have to go in dismantling the patriarchy….Thrilling...Moments of suspense make for gratifying white-knuckled reading.”

Kristen Ravin
Seven Days

"Bohjalian takes readers on a treacherous journey through 17th-century Puritan New England, when a woman proclaiming her rights could end up hanging from a noose.”

K.L. Romo
The Big Thrill

"Classic Chris Bohjalian—moments of deep dread, extraordinary plot twists, and characters you love to root for paired with characters you love to hate.”

Amy Jones
Writer's Digest

"Readers who love historical fiction related to the Salem witch trials, will find that Bohjalian flawlessly delivers with his new novel..”

Adriana Delgado
Palm Beach Daily News

"HOUR OF THE WITCH offers a propulsive and powerful tale of what can happen when a person who is pushed to the brink simply refuses to accept the status quo and pushes forward in a quest for justice...[This] is Bohjalian at his best...there’s a kinetic energy to his storytelling that is unlike anything else in the realm of popular fiction...Vividly realized thanks to solid research and captivating characterization, it’s a book that will likely prove difficult for you to put down.”

Allen Adams
The Maine Edge

"In 1660s Boston, blue-eyed, porcelain-delicate Mary Deerfield is determined to escape her marriage after her husband, the cruel and controlling Thomas Deerfield, shoves a fork through her hand in a drunken rage. Yet unfortunate incidents—a screaming maid, a boy’s death after Mary treats him with herbs—leaves her longing not just for freedom but for her life; she could be condemned to the gallows as a witch. Another surprise read from the fabulously protean, New York Times best-selling Bohjalian.”

Library Journal

"A probing page-turner about society's scapegoats and how elusive justice can be.”


"[Horror] books needn’t be set in the present in order to have contemporary resonance. Hour of the Witch, a horror-inflected thriller by Chris Bohjalian... [is] a ‘cry against the paternalistic culture and the persecution of outsiders’—in other words, very 2020."

Publishers Weekly

"Illustrates how rough justice can get when religion and institutional sexism are in the mix."

Kirkus Reviews

"Immediately engrossing. . . [Mary Deerfield] is a woman we can root for. . . Bohjalian’s smart stylistic choices ensure that the reader is well and truly transported back to 17th-century Puritan New England, and Hour of the Witch is a finely-wrought and emotionally-charged historical drama."

Addison Independent

"Well-researched and chilling."

Jane Ammeson
The Times of Northwest Indiana