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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / Colonial Period
  • Language:English
  • Pages:257
  • eBook ISBN:9780996835121

The Virtues of Pennyroyal

by Keith Alan Brough

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The Virtues of Pennyroyal is the tale of Bernard Mason, a con artist and amateur musician whose debts force him to quit London on a trade ship bound for the anonymous safety of colonial Massachusetts. He surfaces in the burgeoning village of Barnstable, where he quickly ingratiates himself with the devout but naive locals. Over time, Bernard becomes an influential member of the village, marrying into one of the founding families. His son Isaac is a musical prodigy whose abilities assure Bernard a seat in the highest echelons of London society. Bernard's return to London is endangered, however, by Isaac's personal demons, Isaac's righteous friend Daniel, the interfering daughters of Bernard's friend Thomas Hathorne, and the woods witch Goody Blatchford. After the largest blizzard in New England history blankets the region, Bernard leverages a tragic death into the boldest scheme of his life, all but assuring his triumphant return to London. All he needs is the cooperation of his son and a little luck. Unfortunately, Bernard's merciless schemes implode under the forces of ironic and supernatural justice.


Dramatis Personae



Bernard Mason: a con artist and amateur musician from London

Robert Blatchford: Captain of the Tower Hill

Anne Blatchford: Wife of Captain Blatchford and wood’s witch of Halfway Pond

Samuel Coffin: Prominent businessman of Barnstable and Father-in-law of Bernard

Tobias Coffin: Eldest son of Samuel Coffin

Charity Coffin-Mason: Daughter of Samuel and wife of Bernard

Thomas Hathorne: Bookseller of Barnstable, novice musician, and Bernard’s closest friend

Elizabeth Hathorne: Midwife in training and on of Thomas’ four daughters

Sarah Hathorne: Daughter of Thomas and mother of Caleb

Abigail Hathorne: Betrothed to Isaac, Bernard’s son; daughter of Thomas

Hope Hathorne: Daughter of Thomas, betrothed to Daniel Caulder

Isaac Mason: Son of Bernard and Charity. A musical prodigy

Daniel Caulder: A farmer’s son, Isaac’s best friend, and Hope’s future husband.

Barsabbas Landry: Notary of Barnstable, resident of Rendezvous Lane, and Bernard Mason’s right hand. (Barnabas Landry in the 2012 Print edition.)

Goodman Hinckley: Constable of Barnstable and resident of Rendezvous Lane.

Goodman Hawes: Resident of Rendezvous Lane and confidant of Bernard

Jonathan Russell Sr.: Reverend of Barnstable from 1683–1712

Jonathan Russell Jr.: Reverend of Barnstable from 1712–1759

Nathaniel: Bernard’s mentor in London (1698)

Dobson: Boatswain aboard the Tower Hill

Malachi: Bernard’s servant boy

About the author
As a child Keith spent several weeks on Cape Cod each summer and became enamored with the land and its history. He worked as a research assistant and co-authored two economic reports for the National Marine Fisheries Service while attending the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth before graduating with a major in Economics and a minor in English. He is also a member of the Rehoboth Minutemen/13th Continental Regiment with whom he edited and published General Ward's Colonial Army, an enlightening, authoritative guide to the Massachusetts regiments of minute-men and militia that first engaged the British during the Revolutionary War.