Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Night by Tom Weston -- Book Review

On New Year's Eve in 1688, a curious young Puritan girl died of smallpox in Boston. Over three hundred years later, sisters Alex and Jackie O'Rourke join their Aunt Anne and Uncle Jim for First Night in Boston.

When Sarah Pemberton's ghost appears and asks Alex and Jackie to help her defeat charges of witchcraft brought against her, the sisters' night takes a turn that brings them through Boston's rich history. Can they help Sarah and still have enough time to meet back up with Aunt Anne and Uncle Jim?

In this mysterious and exciting story, author Tom Weston has created a cast of engaging characters that teenagers will easily relate to. California blondes, Alex and Jackie each have their strong points and flaws, but overall they are charming young women caught up in helping Sarah, who has been charged with witchcraft and sharing the Devil's Book.

Jackie is chosen as Sarah's advocate, and travels back in time to defend her before three magistrates. Other characters we meet are Sarah's parents, Hannah and Thomas, who are forced to testify against their daughter, and Captain Ayres, a friend of the Pemberton family. Captain Ayers gave Sarah an Inuit bracelet right before her death in 1688.

First Night's strength is definitely its characters, I just wish the all-knowing narrator would have allowed them to carry more of the story. Instead of having Alex and Jackie experience Boston's history, much that is revealed about the area is discussed by the narrator; and in the first chapter, which is about Sarah's death, the narrator intrudes with future events and plagues that the characters would have no knowledge of.

Though a lover of history and a life-long resident of Massachusetts, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of historical detail. Does the reader truly need to know the entire history of a building or location in order to enjoy a story?

The best parts of First Night, and those that kept this reader turning the pages, were those places where Sarah, Alex and Jackie moved the story along. And the ending was superbly done and satisfying.

First Night by Tom Weston is a fun ghost story that many readers will enjoy.

Title: First Night
Author: Tom Weston
Publisher: Tom Weston Media
ISBN: 978-0-981-94131-8
SRP: $10.95 (U.S.)

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