Based on the true story of the first death by electrocution, The Binding of Saint Barbara tells the controversial story through the eyes of the warden’s family who lived in Auburn Prison during the year William Kemmler awaited his death in 1890.
If Charlotte Durston ever wants to escape her existence as a cloistered warden’s daughter who picks at her nails and talks out loud to herself, she has to either prove to her parents that she is responsible enough to attend college or capture the attention of the love of her life, a prison guard named Daniel McNaughton.
She actually has a chance to do both when her mother takes her to greet and minister to the newest inmate, who is guarded exclusively by Daniel, but the moment she gets too close, the murderer attacks and attempts to strangle her to death.
Afterwards, her mother is determined to convert the condemned man while her father has gone to Manhattan for the appeal hearings. It seems like everyone cares more about her attacker than they do her until she meets a young inmate named Michael Bradley who shows her the respect she’s longed for her entire life. When she discovers he has information that could change the course of the appeals, Charlotte sees another opportunity to prove herself.
Incorporating historical newspaper articles and “the battle of currents” between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla—The Binding of Saint Barbara mesmerizes readers by interweaving history with magical realism to create a seamless exploration of the good and evil in us all.