DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL by Mary Sharratt

DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The Pendle witches’ story, retold as a passionate saga of female friendship and a cautionary tale of feuding within a superstitious community.

According to Bess Demdike’s definition, she’s not a witch because she uses her powers for good, not evil. Either way, in this latest version of a famous English historical episode, Sharratt (The Real Minerva, 2004, etc.) credits Bess with actual powers to charm and heal, courtesy of her familiar spirit Tibb, a shape-shifter linked to the leader of the fairy folk. The era is the late-16th and early-17th century, a time when the old Catholic faith is still being ruthlessly eradicated. The first portion of the text is narrated by widowed Bess, who describes how at age 50 she became “cunning,” able to heal a sick child via inherited herbal wisdom, common sense, Catholic blessings and some help from Tibb. Soon she and her daughter have a reputation for sorcery, a hanging offence, and later Bess shares her knowledge with friend Anne Whittle, a generosity she will regret when the two become enemies. Bess’s 17-year-old granddaughter Alizon takes over the story to describe the family’s downfall. Arrested, shaved, examined and tried, Bess dies in prison, while her daughter, granddaughter and some unfortunate neighbors are subsequently hanged.

Committed storytelling and visual detail mark this overlong but tightly wound historical.

Pub Date: April 7th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-547-06967-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2010




BOOKS WITH WITCHES:

FictionSEASON OF THE WITCH by Natasha Mostert
by Natasha Mostert
FictionWITCHES OF EAST END by Melissa de la Cruz
by Melissa de la Cruz
FictionTHE DARK GLAMOUR by Gabriella Pierce
by Gabriella Pierce
FictionDAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL by Mary Sharratt
by Mary Sharratt

MORE BY MARY SHARRATT

FictionTHE DARK LADY'S MASK by Mary Sharratt
by Mary Sharratt
FictionILLUMINATIONS by Mary Sharratt
by Mary Sharratt
FictionTHE REAL MINERVA by Mary Sharratt
by Mary Sharratt

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionTHE WINTER WITCH by Paula Brackston
by Paula Brackston
FictionTHE LADY OF SECRETS by Susan Carroll
by Susan Carroll
IndieTHE WITCH NARRATIVES by Belinda Vasquez Garcia
by Belinda Vasquez Garcia
FictionTHE FATE OF MERCY ALBAN by Wendy Webb
by Wendy Webb