Steeped in History
A brooding, atmospheric setting in England in the 1600's tells the story of the hard scrabble life of Bess Southern, a "wise woman" who only used her talents for healing or blessing people to support her family. Her daughters and granddaughters inherit the talent but not the wisdom for using it. I was drawn into the story and became attached to the characters as they tried to make a life for themselves in a community increasingly suspicious of anything even remotely related to witchcraft. Based on actual witchcraft trials in Pendle in1612, there is enough history to make the tale believable and enough magic to make it a gripping read.
Rated of 5
by Lola T. (Broken Arrow, OK)
Daughters of the Witching Hill
This was an outstanding read!!! I couldn't put it down and even gave up computer time (gasp!!) to read it. I loved the way the author incorporated the manner of speech of those times; I found only once instance of contemporary vernacular and it really jarred me. I truly felt I was there with Bess and Alizon in those late 1500's, experiencing not only the grinding poverty, but the happiness that the common folk felt. I'll be recommending this book to all my fellow historical novel lovers!! Well-researched and very well written!
Rated of 5
by Carol N. (Alabama)
Blessings and curses in 17th century England
This book is based on the true story from 17th century England of people who were tried, convicted and hanged for witchcraft. The story is told from two people; the grandmother who is a "blesser" and her granddaughter who wanted to ignore her gift. Reading this book made me see how swiftly accusations and mob mentality could get out of control and cause irreparable damage, especially to those so poor they had no representation in the courts. The language and voice of the book added to the story. I especially liked the last half of the book from the perspective of the granddaughter.
Rated of 5
by Barb W. (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Couldn't put it down
Loved this book, had a hard time putting it down. Having just read another book that lightly touched upon the Pendle witches, I was especially intrigued by this one, and it did not disappoint. I was transported back to the 1600s and easily got caught up in the story. I will definitely be recommending this to my friends, co-workers and our library's patrons who ask for "a good read"!
Rated of 5
by Jeanne M. (Vancouver, WA)
Good and Evil
"Daughters of the Witching Hill" is a historical novel that brings life to the seven women and two men who are accused of witchcraft. The stories are brought to life by Mother Demdike (Bess Southerns) and her granddaughter, Alizon. Mother Demdike sets the stage for understanding the world of Catholic folk magic in the time of the Reformation. Alizon continues the narration, giving life to each of the men and women who grapple with the world they are drawn into by the daily life, poverty, illness and imposed religion of the Reformation.
Each character is thoughtfully developed, exploring their fears and everyday trials. We come to admire and have compassion for the lives of these men and women and the decisions they make to help those who need it and hinder those who are bent on ill-will.
Fittingly, Mother Demdike add the coda to the resolution of the witch trials that ensue, Ann reminds the world that they will endure and remain a part of the lore of this time in history.
Rated of 5
by Barbara B. (Alta Loma, CA)
For History Lovers
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and reading DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL did not disappoint. Mary Sharratt's novel takes place in the 17th Century & tells the story of seven women & two men who were tried as witches. It is based on real people & factual events,told by two of the condemned, who have very strong voices. The characters came alive for me and the use of the language put me in the middle of all that was enfolding. I would suggest this book for book clubs, as the discussions can take different paths.
Rated of 5
by Mary M. (Lexingtin, KY)
Fascinating Historical Novel
I found this book to be interesting and well written. I knew nothing about the historical events it was based on. I sometimes have trouble relating to characters in historical novels, but from the first few pages I felt I knew Demdike. I cared about her and I cared what happened to her and her friends and family. It was easy to get lost in the time period and to feel like you knew the people and their world. I finished the book wanting to know more about the witch trials and the time period they took place in. I think a good book gets you interested in the subject beyond the book and this book did that for me. I will be reading more about the witch trials. I also feel I have discovered a new author since I have not read anything else by Mary Sharrat. I will be reading other books by her in the future.
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