Dancing in the Palm of His Hand

Good Dancing CoverDancing in the Palm of His Hand (Breakwater Books 2005) depicts the horrors and legal maneuverings of the European witch persecutions as revealed through Eva Rosen, a young widow accused of witchcraft, her persecutor Wilhelm Hampelmann, and her defender Franz Lutz. The novel recreates the world of early 17th century Germany when sexual repression and religious war were rampant, rigid patriarchy prevailed in church, state, and family – and no one questioned the existence of witches or their master, the Devil.

Available from: Amazon.ca,  Amazon.com, Chapters Indigo and

and Happenstance Books & Yarns, Lakefield, ON (705-652-7535)

Dancing in the Palm of His Hand has been used at Memorial University in the history course “Witch Persecutions in Early Modern Europe,” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the history course “The Making of Modern Europe,” and at the University of Winnipeg in the course “Women of Modern Europe.”

Excerpts from reviews of Dancing in the Palm of His Hand:

“[A] major work … While the reader is ever conscious of the setting and the horrific tenor of the times … [Beckel] succeeds in breathing life into the characters; they are real and superbly individualized … a splendid literary creation that is  an important socio-historical document as well … The pervasive darkness that this great novel depicts offers, too, the luminously redemptive influence of love. I have used the word ‘great’ in no facile way, I assure you, for the creation resonates with the power of the works of such masters as Hawthorne and Miller.”
Enos Watts, author of After the Locusts, Autumn Vengeance, and Spaces Between the Trees

“[T]wo things make this book shine. First, the book is remarkably well researched.  Beckel knows the period, from the pressures of religious wars that shook Germany down to details of city life, architecture and clothing … Secondly (and most rewarding for readers looking for more than a fresh account of the witch trials) is a series of small, bridging passages where the author allows Satan a first-person commentary on the ordeals that grip Eva.”
Bruce Johnson, Atlantic Books Today

“Sometimes there’s an exceptional novel … Annamarie Beckel’s Dancing in the Palm of His Hand … [is] a powerful, thought-provoking novel. Highly recommended.”
Denise Moore, Hi-Rise

“Ultimately, this is where Beckel’s book shines: in its treatment of ordinary people faced with a disparity between their religious beliefs and their own moral sense.”
Mark Callanan, The Independent

“Annamarie [Beckel] combines exhaustive research, brilliant storytelling, and keen insight into the fear that dwells in the hearts of all of us to create a gripping novel and an important piece of history – one we dare not forget.”
Marshall Cook, Creativity Connection

“This is an unbelievably good book. The blend of history, mystery, poetry and fine-drawn characterization (Jane Austin would have smiled) makes this not just a page turner, but a treasure.”
Laurel Yourke, author of Take Your Characters to Dinner and Waiting for Beethoven

Dancing in the Palm of His Hand is well researched, with a gripping story.”
Joan Sullivan, The Telegram


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