"The fathers have eaten sour grapes
And the children's teeth are set on edge"
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, as Nathaniel Hathorne, grandson of John Hathorne, one of the judges in the Salem Witchcraft trials. His father, a sea captain, died when Nathaniel was four. Raised by a doting all-female family, he loved to read and early on decided that he was not fit for a traditional career. "I do not want to be a doctor and live by men's diseases, nor a minister to live by their sins, nor a lawyer to live by their quarrels. So I don't see that there is anything left for me but to be an author." He was a compatriot of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau and Herman Melville.
In this Gothic novel of greed and retribution, a curse haunts the impressive House of the Seven Gables. Colonel Pyncheon wrested the prime lot from Matthew Maule, a poor man unfairly hanged for wizardry. Maule swore that God would give the Pyncheons blood to drink. Col. Pyncheon never lived in the house he had built there; he died on the night of the housewarming. The Pyncheons, a greedy, grasping family, were cursed with premature, bloody deaths. At the time of our story, the two surviving Pyncheons are weak, ineffectual and old. A distant cousin, Phoebe Pyncheon, brings light and hope into the house, hope that the curse can be lifted.