In Bewitching Hannah, my new young adult fantasy romance, the historic Annapolis Tea Party has a mysterious connection to the witches in Annapolis, and it is the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the event described below that marks the climax of the story.
In defiance of British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, the Sons of Liberty in Boston boarded a ship filled with tea and set it ablaze. Ten months later, Annapolis patriots denied Parliament’s right of taxation and followed suit.
It was October 1774, and the Peggy Stewart brig arrived in Annapolis from London…loaded with tea. Since this was not the first time the owner, Anthony Stewart, had tried to import banned goods, he decided in order to unload the two thousand pounds of tea, he would pay the tax.
Colonial Annapolitans rushed into a rage and demanded Mr. Stewart be publicly punished by tarring and feathering him. They protested in front of his house, threatening his life and his family. A local committee of Maryland citizens decided the best course of action was to burn the Peggy Stewart and her cargo in the harbor.
The night of October 19th, 1774, several patriots including Charles Ridgely accompanied Mr. Stewart on board the brig. Mr. Stewart hesitated to touch his torch to the ship until Mr. Ridgely warned him that if he didn’t, his life would be in danger. The ship and her cargo burned and sank in the harbor, thereby entering the Annapolis Tea Party into the history books.
Eventually and in fear for his life, Mr. Stewart relocated to Nova Scotia, Canada. As for the ship, according to the Maryland Historical Society Library, the Peggy Stewart‘s remains lay beneath what is now Luce Hall at the U. S. Naval Academy.
In the excerpt below, Hannah talks about her fear of October 19th—the date of the upcoming tea party reenactment.
“I want to assume you found the trunk key I left for you, and you’ve been studying your father’s notes from the attic. If you’ve been up to anything more than that do not tell me,” Aunt J said.
“I have been reading his notes.”
“Good. Keep doing that, but you should know something else. Your father’s ring, the one on your hand—there is more to it than meets the eye. Your father was working on its secret before he died, but he never figured it out.”
“He always told me it held a secret and secrets would reveal themselves to me once I proved worthy.”
“That’s true, and I have a feeling you’re exactly the worthy kind of witch that ring deserves. You need to pick up where he left off. Uncover its secret. You might need it.”
I stared at the Fitzgerald crest, the weight of my heritage falling heavy on my shoulders. “The way you say it scares me.”
“You need to be scared.” She stared straight ahead, but her knuckles on the steering wheel paled white as she gripped it harder.
“How much time do you think I have?”
“I don’t know. Momentous events surrounding witches usually occur during planet alignments or natural disasters.”
I wasn’t clairvoyant like Mrs. Meier, so predicting a volcanic eruption or tidal wave was out of the question unless the date came to me in a fog-free dream. However, I wasn’t counting on that. I reached for my phone and Googled “upcoming astral events.” I scrolled through the list. My eyes nearly popped out of my head—one impending big, amazing, blood moon-slash-total lunar eclipse. With anxious fingers, I checked my phone calendar. The eclipse was occurring on October nineteenth, the night of the tea party re-enactment. I swallowed the lump in my throat and slipped the phone back in my pocket. Aunt J would be there with other members of the coven for the painting unveiling and everyone else in town for the re-enactment. I sighed, frustrated. “Can you drop me off at Mateo’s.”
“Mateo? We’re talking about your actual life, not your social life.”
“I promised him.”
She frowned. “If you prunus domestica to consider what I’ve told you.”
“I promise that, too.” We parked in front of Mateo’s house. I waved goodbye to Aunt J and dashed to the front door.
Summer greeted me with a huge smile. “Come in. I’m glad you’re okay.” Her gaze drifted to the cloudless blue sky. “Why do you look so damp and disheveled?”
I sighed, filled with frustration and stress. “Long story.”
“Mateo’s in the backyard. He’s been waiting to show you his stupid sacred treasures,” she said as if it wasn’t a big deal to anyone except Mateo. She pointed to the sliding glass doors. “He’s out there, but come back when you’re done.”
Mateo, sitting at the sunny picnic bench in the middle of the yard, eyed me up and down. He set his small brush down. “You look like you got in a fight with a fish and the fish won.”
“Maybe I did.”
I shrugged. “Emme.”
“She doesn’t know when to quit, does she?”
“That’s for sure.”
He puttered around with a shell thingy. “So you gonna tell me exactly what happened after you left the beach by the cliff?”
I slid onto the bench opposite him. “Stupid really. Went to the pond, got distracted, and fell into a drainage ditch.”
He laughed. “I’m serious.”
“Me, too. Fortunately, I didn’t die there.”
“What had you so distracted you didn’t see the ditch?”
“Siris, my raven showed up.”
He looked up from cleaning. “I thought familiars were supposed to be helpful.”
“He was helpful. It was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention.”
“So what happened?”
I pressed my lips together, not sure how he would take the news. “That’s where William found me.”
Being a witch is the last thing Hannah wants…
Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she was descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead. Engaged in a deadly game and not knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.