book cover of Content Burns

Content Burns

Stephanie A. Smith
Stephanie A. Smith, Professor of English. Pre-order available from Amazon.

CONTENT BURNS chronicles the parallel stories of two women who bear the same Puritan name, in the same family, who are separated by three centuries and who are unknown to each other and yet both women must learn how to survive historical traumas that changed the course of American history: the first Content Burns, born a Pequot Indian, was originally named Ɓsawanuw (Corn-silk), survives both a small-pox epidemic and the Pequot Massacre as a child. Given in servitude to the colonial Burns family, she converts upon her marriage into that family and takes the name Content as a sign of her acceptance of her fate. However, later in life, finds she and her children cannot escape the after-effects of the massacre of her family and her tribe in 1637 at Mystic, Connecticut, a massacre that significantly altered relations between the English, Dutch and tribal peoples and contributed to not only the bloody King Philip’s (Metacomet) War but also to the much later witch hunts that rocked the New England coast; and the contemporary Content Abigail Burns, nicknamed Cabbi, who survives, purely by accident, the loss of the Twin Towers on 9/11, having swapped her shift in the restaurant Wild Blue with a co-worker. Damaged by the fluke of her survival, Cabbi is still healing from that trauma as she nurses her dying mother, searching for a new way forward, when her second-cousin, Lem Dance (the protagonist of BABY ROCKET) steps in with a marvelous, though difficult, proposition.