Author Cherie Aldridge’s Debut Novel “Hester” Is a Riveting Prequel Reimagining the Early Life of the Protagonist in Nathanial Hawthorne’s Classic “The Scarlet Letter”

Cherie Aldridge, a retired high school English and Creative Writing teacher, has published her debut “Hester”: a powerfully dramatic novel of forbidden love in a highly repressive society.

In this prequel to “The Scarlet Letter”, Hester Prynne travels unaccompanied from England to Puritan Boston. She is sixteen and has been forced into marriage with a much older man. He has sent her ahead while he finishes business in Europe. Having few expectations of what her new life will bring, Hester quickly finds herself at odds with the harsh Puritan society and longs for someone who shares her intellectual curiosity and love of reading. She struggles to find meaning in the chores and simple-minded conversations with women of the colony and finds herself the object of leering stares from supposedly pious men. When her talent as a seamstress presents the opportunity to make robes for the ministers, Hester becomes acquainted with the young, handsome, and Oxford-educated Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Soon the embers of first love are ignited in Hester’s heart. A tragic event involving two young girls draws Hester and Arthur into a conspiracy that intensifies their emotional connection.

When Hester receives news that her aging husband, Roger, is most likely dead, she believes she is free to give her heart to Arthur. Hester Prynne and the minister confess their love to each other, but this relationship can never be revealed to the town, whose strict Puritan beliefs demand that such a union is not allowed. Readers who enjoyed “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne will be intrigued by this novel’s reimagined portrayal of Hester Prynne. For those who have always wondered how the relationship between Hester and Arthur emerged,…

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