Spines of books about Salem

Salem Bookshelf

Salem is a bit of a literary darling. Nathaniel Hawthorne, considered America’s first great novelist, wrote glorious novels about Salem including The Scarlet Letter (1850) and The House of the Seven Gables (1851), and the Salem Witch Trials inspired Arthur Miller’s award-winning play, The Crucible (1953). These books are prerequisites on any Salem reading list.

Here are a few other titles we love:

Salem Witch Trials

Modern Witch

  • HausMagick: Transform Your Home with Witchcraft, by Erica Feldmann, Harness the power of magic to create a beautiful, healing living space with this unique illustrated guide from the founder of HausWitch, the popular Salem, Massachusetts, store and online lifestyle brand.
  • Reading the Leaves: An Intuitive Guide to the Ancient Art and Modern Magic of Tea Leaf Divination, by Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama, You already possess the tools, and with Sandra and Leanne’s guidance, the true journey of self-discovery can begin. You don’t have to be a witch to find your inner magic.
  • Lighting the Wick, by Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama, Candles represent faith and hope—a light in the darkness, the warmth of love, the heat of passion, and the fire of spirit. Here, Salem-based intuitives Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama show you how to put the power of these simple tools to work for you in your daily life, to improve your relationships, achieve success, provide protection, increase health, honor those who have passed, and more. You don’t have to be a witch to find your inner magic.


  • Salem’s Cookin’, by The Salem Chamber of Commerce, The Salem Chamber has published The Official Salem Chamber of Commerce Cookbook titled Salem’s Cookin’, just in time for Haunted Happenings, Halloween and the Holiday Season! Local chefs, bakers, bartenders, celebrities, and others have provided the Salem Chamber with their best recipes for inclusion in the cookbook. The recipes are complemented by several Salem stories that are fun to read, including a brief culinary history of Salem, VIP recipes, and some anecdotes and special stories as well.
  • What Salem Dames Cooked, by Derby Square Press, The Esther C. Mack Industrial School of Salem, Massachusetts compiled this book in 1910. Included are selections from ‘The Compleat Cook’ (1683); ‘The Frugal Housewife’ (1730); ‘Our Grandmother’s Cook Book’ (1800); and ‘Our Own Cook Books’ (1900). Literary quotations from Shakespeare, Byron, Cervantes, and more are scattered among the recipes for baked goodies, meat dishes, and beverages.


Graphic Novel


  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs, by Katherine Howe
  • Death of an Empire: The Rise and Murderous Fall of Salem, America’s Richest City, by Robert Booth
  • The Heretic’s Daughter, by Kathleen Kent (2008) was written by Kathleen Kent, a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier, who was accused and ultimately hanged as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. The story is told from the point of view of Martha’s young daughter, Sarah, who survived the witchcraft hysteria that was overtaking her community and immediate family. Kent’s work of historical fiction not only describes how the witch trials took place, but also how powerful familial bonds can be even at the most destructive times in our history.
  • The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry is a contemporary novel set in Salem that follows protagonist Towner Whitney on her journey home, through the streets of Salem and around the harbor islands. The novel is a journey through decades of Salem society, maritime history, and the modern witch community. A map of Towner’s Salem is available on Salem.org.
  • The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe (2009) is historical fiction with a new perspective on the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Deliverance Dane was an accused witch, and her descendant Connie Goodwin is sorting out the story of her life while living in Marblehead in the early 1900s. This novel asks the question – what if the accused were really practicing witchcraft?
  • Map of True Places, (2011) by Brunonia Barry follows Zee Finch, a psychotherapist from Boston, on a journey to rediscover herself when the life of one her patients puts things into a different perspective, and brings back memories of her family’s tragic past. Her search for answers brings her back to Salem, where she finds her father’s health failing and the need to create a new map for the next chapter in her life.
  • The Traitor’s Wife, (2011), also by Kathleen Kent is a prequel to her earlier book, The Heretic’s Daughter. This story takes place before the Salem Witch trials, and rather focuses on the relationship and courtship of Martha Allen and Thomas Carrier. According to Kent’s family tradition’s Thomas was believed to have fought in the English Civil War, and may have been one of the executioners of King Charles I.
  • The Fifth Petal, (2017) is the latest work by Brunonia Barry. Following The Lace Reader, The Fifth Petal focuses on the mystery surrounding a suspicious death taking place in Salem on Halloween night. The death appears oddly similar to a string of past murders, and the chief of police believes they may be connected, perhaps even by a curse that may be haunting Salem residents with familial ties to the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Deliberate Evil, Written by Edward J. Renehan, Deliberate Evil The 1830 murder of wealthy slaver Joseph White shook all of Salem, Massachusetts. Soon the crime drew national attention when it was discovered that two of the conspirators came from Salem’s influential Crowninshield family: a clan of millionaire shipowners, cabinet secretaries, and congressmen.

Young Adult Novels

  • Conversion, by Katherine Howe
  • How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather(2016), a 12th-generation descendant of Cotton Mather, infamous for his role in the Salem Witch Trials. How to Hang a Witch follows the story of Samantha Mather, a descendant of Cotton Mather who is forced to move to Salem when her father falls into a coma and is treated in a Boston area hospital. Samantha endures bullying and abandonment by her classmates, some of which being descendants of the victims of the witch trials, while finding herself wrapped up in a centuries old curse that surrounds living descendants in Salem.
  • Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer
  • Conversations, (2015) by Katherine Howe modernizes the Salem Witch Hysteria through an all-girls school in Danvers, Massachusetts. Girls in Howe’s story are overtaken by conditions similar to those experienced in 1692, and the story is told simultaneously through the points of view of Coleen, a modern student, and Ann Putnam in 1706.
  • Hocus Pocus, (2018) was just released for the 25th anniversary of the hit Disney film that takes place in Salem. This two-part young adult novel shares a retelling of the original story as well as new stories for how the Sanderson Sisters’ curse takes over the lives of the next generation of Salem kids.
  • Carry On Mr.Bowdich, by Jen Lee Latham was published for younger readers (9-12 year olds) in 1955. Latham tells the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, who grew up to be one of the greatest navigators in history. The novel is a looking glass into Salem’s maritime heritage that is fascinating for all ages. The Salem Maritime National Historic Site has a walking tour of Nathaniel Bowditch’s Salem available at both the Visitor Center and the Orientation Center.

For Children

  • Piece by Piece, words by Susan Tan, pictures by Justine Wong, Exploring the museum’s Chinese house, Yin Yu Tang, she finds a place reminiscent of her grandmother and their special bond. But will she find her blanket before it’s too late? Remembering Nainai’s wisdom, she has not only good luck but the love of her family, too. With stirring words by author Susan Tan and luminous scenes by debut illustrator Justine Wong, this heartwarming picture book will be enjoyed by kids and collectors alike.

Local Authors

  • Black Cat Tales: History and Haunting of Old Salem (2019) An in depth look at the history behind Salem’s most chilling legends and mysterious hauntings. This book is filled with the efforts of over fifteen years of research by local historians Daniel and Lara Fury, owners of one of Salem’s most respected and well reviewed walking tour companies. Delve into the details behind the macabre afflictions of the Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and the unexplained phenomena of ghostly apparitions that have appeared for centuries in buildings and locations cursed with madness and murder.
  • If These Stones Could Speak (2021) A provocative and comprehensive chronicle of the varied lives, loves, and deaths of those who rest eternally in Salem’s Old Burying Point, and who are commemorated by the Salem Witch Trials Memorial written by local Daniel Fury. With additional information about the history of the cemetery and Memorial, along with maps, historic photos, lore, a complete index of burials, and advice about how to respectfully document these sites, this book is ideal for visitors, researchers, and those who wish to take a piece of Salem home to tour in the tablets of their memory.

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