Brenda Murphy has published three volumes of historical fiction with Bricktop Hill Books to add to her twenty non-fiction books about American literary and cultural subjects, especially the theater. After teaching at universities in New York and Connecticut, Brenda now lives in Maryland where she enjoys writing full time surrounded by deer and horse farms.


Contact Brenda at [email protected]

or through Bricktop Hill at

PO Box 154, Woodstock, MD 21163

BRENDA’S Historical Fiction from bricktop hill books

New Release, June 15, 2023


When Light Breaks Through takes us beyond the witch trials to tell a compelling, expansive story of what happened in Salem Village. In 1692, Ann Putnam is a ringleader in the witch trials that bring devastation to the village and deep divisions among its people. In 1697, in love and eager to marry, Joseph Green takes on the ministry that no one else will have  and sets about healing the village. Together they make an appeal that could finally unite their bitterly divided community. The historical novel includes a historical chronology, note on historical sources and book club discussion questions.



In this Irish American story, the voyage across the Atlantic after the Great Hunger proves just the beginning for two young people facing the challenges of a new life. After the death of the young wife he loves passionately, Richard marries Maggie with the help of a deceptive go-between who brews trouble in their marriage that never goes away. Their family’s future will include battles for the workingman with the Knights of Labor for Richard, the Navy during the Spanish-American War for son Tom, the challenges of a single working woman in Boston for daughter Josie, dreams of the convent and life as a wife and mother of nine children for daughter Mary.

Carlotta Monterey is best known for her stormy marriage to the playwright Eugene O’Neill after her twenty-year career in the theater. Her early life and her marriages—to a Scottish aristocrat, to the son of her mother’s lover in Oakland, California, and to the famous artist and illustrator, Ralph Barton—took her from the Old West to Edwardian London and aristocratic English country life, to the Broadway theater and the  actor’s life on the road, and to bohemian Greenwich Village and Manhattan’s arty Smart Set in the 1920s. This novel chronicles the seemingly boundless ways she reinvented herself to meet the challenges of her fascinating life.