4.5 stars rounded up to 5
Every time I read a historical fiction book, I’m reminded just how fascinating English history is, and that I absolutely bloody love this genre!
Beth Underdown has done a superb job of writing her debut novel based on true events surrounding the fear and intrigue of Witchcraft in seventeenth century England. The story is based on the life of the 1640s Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins, with the main protagonist being his sister, Alice.
The authors writing style created such feelings of helplessness and pity. The scenes were full to the brim of atmosphere, I could smell the filth, hear the whispers of townsfolk, visualise the clothing and wretched children playing in the gutters.
It all sounds so deeply depressing, but, believe me, it was far from it. To say I was gripped by the story would be a lie. It took me just over a week to read it, which is quite a time for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed every single aspect of this book. I think it took me so long because I was savouring each chapter, hanging on to every beautifully written paragraph, and wallowing in the thought of reading another installment. A great book doesn’t necessarily need to be devoured in one sitting.
The Witchfinder’s Sister has everything to pull the reader into the dark and terrifying times women had to endure during this period. Suspicion was rife and the threat of torture, and ultimately, death if you so much as grew any kind of herb on your windowsill filled many a woman with dread. Seems to me that male chauvinism was as rife as dysentery, and God help you dear if you have any thoughts or beliefs of your own!
I’m bound to give this kind of novel the five star treatment, I just can’t help myself, I can’t resist historical fiction, and when Witchcraft is the subject matter, and the writing is this good, I’m sold.
Oh, and before I forget, this has major cover~love from me. I’d like to own a physical copy of this just to touch and appreciate that artwork. Stunning.
I’d like to thank the publisher, Penguin Random House UK, the author, Beth Underdown and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.