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Readers' Reviews:

Oswald reveals the scholarship that made him a respected professor in this fictitious prequel and sequel to The Scarlet Letter. Building on the characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne's morality tale, he brings them even more to life by giving them personal histories as he recounts their lives in Puritan Salem and in Yorkshire, England. However, A Pearl of Great Worth is anything but a dry history; it is a tapestry of words that displays the best and the worst of human behavior, bringing at times a smile to the lips, tears to the eyes, anger to mind and love to the heart. It is a must read for all who enjoy historical fiction.
Johnny Dee
Book Reviewer
The Purple Page Literary Magazine
In A Pearl of Great Worth, a fictitious prequel and sequel to Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic morality tale The Scarlet Letter, bf oswald answers several questions Hawthorne raises but leaves unanswered. From where, and what brought, Hester Prynne to Salem? How did her love affair with Arthur Dimmesdale that gave life to their daughter Pearl begin? How did Hester's husband, known by his alias Roger Chillingworth, make his fortune and why did he leave it and his ancestral estate in England to a child that was not his? And what became of Hester and Pearl after they returned to Yorkshire? Oswald answers these questions while giving more depth and breadth to Hawthorne's cast in the way that has made him a popular and respected novelist. Pearl is a must read for all those who like historical fiction. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Althea Chrome
The Creative Journal
***** Nathaniel Hawthorne is NOT turning over in his grave with this one! He's snuggled up with a flashlight and enjoying every delicious sentence of this prequel/sequel to his own Scarlet Letter. This literary masterpiece will delight readers with its depictions of life in the seventeenth century conveyed by the characters' dialogue in Shakespeare's English and the King James version of the Bible. The author evidently had to research practically every word to be assured of the proper meaning for his readers---so enjoy every word. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing story. You'll find it here and be looking for more. A Pearl of Great Worth is worth an immediate read.
Barbara Beswick
Sebring, Florida

A Pearl of Great Worth, an amazing book. Captured my interest from the first paragraph to the last. This book shows determination, courage, strength and the will to survive. Love, love, loved it. Congratulations to you, Ben for another great read.
Linda Wilfong
Wooster, Ohio

Recently I had an opportunity to read a new release by bf oswald, A Pearl of Great Worth. It was a reading pleasure. Although fiction, there was so much truth and vitality in its pages. To those who love a good read about life, adversity, and persons with the will and courage to overcome, this book is a treasure.
James Moore
Holly, New York


Pearl Prynne is a woman ahead of her time. Embittered by her mother's cruel treatment at the behest of the Puritan clergy and residents of Puritan Salem, she resolves to fight the established traditions of male-dominated 17th Century New England and Great Britain and does so with wealth inherited from a most unlikely source.

She also resolves to exclude all men from her personal life. However, her resolve is in conflict with her lusty nature and she uses one man to explore her sexuality and unwillingly falls in love with another, a man with an unusual relationship to her.

In this fictitious prequel and sequel to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the interwoven lives of Hawthorne's four principles: Pearl Prynne, her mother Hester, her father Arthur Dimmesdale, and the mysterious Roger Chillingworth, are revealed in detail by bf oswald's considerable novelistic skill. A must read for devotees of historical fiction.

From the Book:


During the last week of July 1636, Sir Thomas, after first informing Hester, told his staff that he was leaving the following week for the Netherlands to visit several libraries and talk with his peers about matters of interest to him. He planned to return to Roxford by Christmas. He gave detailed instructions to his butler, housekeeper, and husbandman sparing Hester from having any responsibility for the day-to-day management of the manor. On Monday morning, August fourth, with a slight tug at her heart, Hester wished her husband a safe trip and success with his academic endeavors.

Later that evening, Hester seated herself at her small desk and penned the following:
My Lord,
I beg thy pardon and thy understanding in this matter. I am leaving England to reside in the Colonies. I can no longer remain in thy presence knowing that by not returning thy love, I am a source of continual pain for thee. Nor can I endure any longer this useless life I lead. I long to be among those who need what humble talents I can offer and whose faith will strengthen mine.
Lady Hester Prynne

She careful folded and sealed her letter, and then went downstairs to her husband's office where she laid it on his desk. Relief that she was finally effecting an ending to the matters that had deviled her did little to stifle the fear that she might be doing wrong by heaping an injustice on a man who deserved better from her.

In the small hours of the morning two days after her husband's departure, Hester and Alice crept quietly from the Hall to meet James at the end of the lane where he waited with the Alworthy's farm wagon carrying Hester's and Alice's possessions. As the wagon began to move, Hester took one last look at the house wherein she had spent four unhappy years, vowing never to return.

The first faint streaks of purple in the eastern sky announced the coming dawn as the wagon arrived in front of the Four Ponies Inn on the York to London post road. The stagecoach was just making up and James helped the two drivers load the women's traps. Within the hour, the coach was bumping and jolting its way south. At dusk on the seventh day of their journey exhausted and aching, Alice and Hester stepped down from the stagecoach and into the warm, smoky interior of the Great Swan Inn and Ale House, the last and most comfortable of the road houses that had sheltered them en route, where they took a room for the night.

Feeling rested and sated after a good breakfast, Hester sought directions to Purvis and Smythe Goldsmiths who protected the bulk of the Prynne family's wealth. Sir Harold Purvis greeted her request with considerable skepticism; he had heard that Sir Thomas married but had never met Hester. Sir Harold had not become wealthy by being duped, so he studied carefully the attractive young woman standing before him. Her dress and carriage spoke of aristocracy, her companion was definitely in service — but still, charlatans abounded, especially in London. He required more proof.

He became slightly more convinced of the legitimacy of Hester's claim when she produced a request written on Sir Thomas's stationery and sealed with the Prynne family crest. Hester had taken care to copy her husband's writing as closely as possible and fortunately Sir Harold had at hand no other documents in Sir Thomas had written to which to compare the letter given him by Hester. Still he would not give her of her husband's funds outright, he would make her a loan against what security she could offer. If or when Sir Thomas verified the request, the loan would be canceled.

From around her neck, Hester removed a golden chain attached to a pendant sequestered in her bodice. Sir Harold looked in wonder at the large, black pearl mounted in delicate gold filigree worth several times Hester's requested funds — a gift from Sir Thomas on the occasion of their marriage she told him. With little more conversation, Sir Harold counted out fifty gold sovereigns that Hester sequestered in the safety of a cleverly concealed pocket she had sewn into the folds of her traveling dress.

This was only Hester's second trip to London, she had been taken there as a little girl by her father; Alice had never been. Although Hester was anxious to continue their journey, the novelty of London captured them and they spent three more days exploring the shops, making a few small purchases, and being awed by the size of the buildings and bustle of city life.

The early morning of Saturday, August sixteenth was unusually blustery for that time of year, and the two travelers were chilled by the time they gained their seats on the very crowded stagecoach bound for Falmouth. Although the roads were in somewhat better condition than those they traveled over from York, they were made even more uncomfortable by the press of their companions, some of whom had not recently bathed, some with horribly bad breath, and one who produced a considerable volume of flatulence. When Hester and Alice left the coach for the relatively better comfort of an inn three blocks from the harbor, both hoped they would never have to ride in a stagecoach again.

The innkeeper, a portly, pleasant and obliging chap, introduced Hester to a booking agent who began immediately to find suitable accommodations for the two women for their trip to the New World. They were in luck, the Anne Mary, a freighter of considerable size, was making up for a passage to Salem. There was one first-class cabin remaining, which Hester agreed to share with Alice. On Tuesday afternoon September second, the Anne Mary set sail on the ebb of high tide.

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 About The Author



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 A Pearl of Great Worth Book



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