Friday, September 14, 2018

[Book Review] New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker

Book Review of New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker

New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker is such an interesting and well written collection of tales from the beautiful state of New Hampshire.

When I saw this book sitting on a shelf at Deadwicks in Portsmouth, New Hampshire while on my bachelorette party trip, I just had to snag it!

When I was at the counter to pay for it, the gal working the shop let me know that the person standing next to her was actually the author! So of course we asked if she would sign my book. What she wrote was just perfect:

Let's dive in!

New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker

New Hampshire's historic graveyards, from Portsmouth to North Conway, have bizarre and eerie stories to offer their visitors.

Graveyards often invoke fear and superstition among the living, but the dead who rest within them may have more to communicate to the world they left behind. The sands of Pine Grove Cemetery in Hampton once concealed the tombstone of Susanna Smith, but now its message--which reads simply Slaine with thunder"--and her story have risen from beneath the soil. The Point of Graves Cemetery in Portsmouth is home to the spirit of Elizabeth Pierce, who beckons departing guests back to her grave. Along the state's southern border in Jaffrey, tombstones at Philips-Heil Cemetery caution the living to cherish life.

Author Roxie Zwicker tours the Granite State's oldest burial grounds, exploring the stones, stories and folklore of these hallowed places."

My thoughts: 
The introduction drew me right in! I loved that I the author touched on why she visits cemeteries and how important it is to remember our history.

While reading, I couldn’t help but let the narration in my head sound a bit dramatic like one of the history channel specials. This certainly made the read even more fun!

I learned so much from this book!

Right from chapter two I learned that the oldest cemetery in the state of New Hampshire is in Rye; Old Odiorne Point Cemetery located in the woods at Odiorne Point State Park. I learned that in Pine Grove Cemetery in Hampton, headstones appear and disappear when the weather shifts the sand and dirt. I learned that at the Point of Graves in Portsmouth, there is a rare turnstile that are not frequently seen in New England as well as purple headstones that would have been shipped here from England. Also at Point of Graves is a headstone for Elizabeth Pierce, which is said to be an active location spiritually.

Later on, reading about a cemetery very close to where I currently live was heartbreaking! There is so much history with the Valley Cemetery in Manchester... and hearing about how many areas have been vandalized with graffiti really got my blood boiling!

The rest of the book covered tales and lore from other New Hampshire towns. Whether I was reading about an old cemetery or a horrible tale of injustice, this book had me totally hooked.

My favorite passages: 
New Hampshire is also proud of its scenic (albeit tiny) seacoast, where visitors from Europe visited the shores as early as the sixteenth century. Here, seeds of revolution were sown in the eighteenth-century, and the echoes of the past can be found in the old town neighborhoods.

For some people, graveyards are uncomfortable places, and this sentiment is usually tied to superstitious belief. But what we should really be fearful of is forgetting where we come from. There is much to lean and see among the forgotten stones, if you dare to look. 

My final thoughts:
A must read if you live in, or have visited, New Hampshire and enjoy learning about spooky things. I'm so happy I picked this one up and I know that I will be rereading it time and time again. This book also made me want to visit some of the areas that the author wrote about!

Thanks for reading! 
Have you read any collections like this that were written about your area?


  1. How fun that you got to meet the author. Graveyards are so depressing to me but I’d love to visit a really old one.

  2. I'd like to read about the witch trials that happened in my town but can't find a decent book on it! I did get a general book on the subject of witchunters so that should be interesting.

  3. This sounds great. I'd love to see books like these catered to each state. I'd totally read this one dramatically in my head as well!

  4. This looks like a great book - every state should have one! And what a sweet inscription from the author. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

  5. OMG that is so cool the author was right there when you got the book, and it's a really sweet message from the author. <3

    I usually avoid graveyards and cemeteries (they scare me and give me goosebumps all around), but I LOVE reading the history and legends surrounding them (maybe that sounds weird?).

  6. What a great inscription on the book - one you can always cherish. I love books like this and it sounds like this was a great read. We have some great cemeteries in my town and a few years back, I went on a haunted ghost tour and learned some stories about some of them. Glad you enjoyed this!

    1. Right?! <3 It's definitely one of my favorites! Ohh! I would love to do a haunted ghost tour here locally! I did one in England back in 2008, that one was so spooky!

  7. This seems neat! I think the only thing we really have it "Weird Pennsylvania"

  8. That's so cool that you got your copy signed by the author. :)