Title: Daughters of the Witching Hill
Author: Mary Sharratt
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt
Release Date: April 7, 2010
Acquired: Amazon Purchase
Date Finished: April 5, 2014
Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic fold magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic.
When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.
This was a quick read, but it didn’t offer too much substance. Based on the synopsis, I expected so much more. There was a lot of reference to magic, but there was little to no actual magic. I’m guessing this was supposed to somehow reflect the witch hunts of the time (lots of talk, but no real magic), but it basically just aggravated me. In my opinion, the book was more about the women’s relationships, the way they depended on each other and how quickly they could turn on one another. So, don’t go into this one expecting a lot of magic. It’s not there.
I won’t go into a lot of detail about the end of the book because I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, but I will say this…it was the best and most accurate part of the story. It was tough to read in some spots, and it felt very real. In my opinion, the whole book was written just so the author could tell the story contained in the last few chapters. Unfortunately, it was too late to redeem my opinion of the book.
Overall, I wasn’t that impressed. It didn’t live up to my paranormal expectations. That could be because my expectations were wrong or because the book synopsis was misleading. Either way, this book just didn’t really do anything for me.