Genealogists began writing about Herodias in the 1880s, and their assessments of her character were dreadful. 'Redoubtable and undoubtedly glamorous' was the most favorable; lurid and neurotic were more typical. Herodias was separated from her first husband, John Hicks, by Rhode Island's governor when Hicks' abuse endangered Herodias' life. Amazingly, most genealogists sided with Hicks, who described his ex-wife as a whore. The more I explored Herodias' life, the more I was convinced that she was maligned, and wanted to tell Herodias' story from her point of view. Herodias married John Hicks when she was only thirteen, and perhaps he took advantage of a naive girl separated from her family. George Gardner, Herodias' second husband and a target of John Hicks' wrath, may well have protected Herodias from John Hicks' beatings.
Genealogists clucked because years after she took up with George, Herodias sought a divorce from him. Why? Because the couple had never been legally married, and George Gardner was not providing for their seven children. It's my belief that Herodias refused to wed, and become the property of another husband after her sad experience with John Hicks. She had watched him abscond with their children and her inheritance, legal acts under English law. Rhode Island was scandalized when Herodias revealed that she and George weren't married, but Herodias got her separation. Herodias' neighbors were even more shocked when she took up with an affluent man old enough to be her father. However, John Porter made her seven Gardner his heirs, and Herodias' two Hicks children benefited from his estate as well. Herodias said that George hadn't provided for her children, but Porter did exactly that.
Herodias Long steered her life in a way that few 17th century women did, including royalty, and I love her for her vision. She put her body on the line in her defense of Quaker missionaries who were being whipped and tortured by New England's Puritans. Knowing she faced the whipping post, Herodias walked sixty miles to protest the cruelty, was flogged and jailed, and I love her for her boldness. I just had to write about this amazing woman!
You can learn more about Herodias Long, and find Rebel Puritan and The Reputed Wife, the first books in my Herodias Long trilogy at http://www.rebelpuritan.com/.