Monday, 27 February 2017

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown - Blog Tour

I am delighted to be today's stop on the Blog Tour for The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown. The Witchfinder's Sister is being published by Viking on 2 March 2017. Read on for my review.

The Witchfinder's Sister
By Beth Underdown
Published by Viking (2 March 2017)
ISBN: 978-0241978030

Publisher's description
'The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...'
1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.
But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.
To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?

And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

My verdict
I really enjoyed The Witchfinder's Sister. I found the book to be highly atmospheric with very realistic narrative and dialogue in keeping with the time period in which it's set. It starts off slowly, building up the suspense until it becomes a twisty page turner that's difficult to put down.

The story centres around Alice Hopkins, recently widowed sister of Matthew, who was an English witch hunter, mainly in East Anglia. Due her own circumstances, Alice becomes trapped in her brother's home and is reliant on him for food and lodging. Soon she discovers that her brother is a monster with no heart - and that he expects her to join his quest to find witches. Does Alice have a choice?

It's not an easy read, in terms of content, and is certainly not uplifting. But it's not meant to be. Instead, it's a fascinating and gripping tale of a time when women could be arrested for witchcraft, incarcerated and hanged, just because a man viewed them with irrational suspicion. The plot is claustrophobic, vivid and oozes tension and unease.

The Witchfinder's Sister is perfect for historical fiction fans who like well-researched books with a gruesome, and slightly supernatural, theme. Highly recommended.

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