The Witchfinder's Sister
Overview - "This is a novel for our times. . . . The Witchfinder's Sister lays] bare the visceral horror of what a witch hunt truly is."-- The New York Times Book Review (Editors ' Choice) "Vivid and terrifying."--Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water " Connects nicely with such dystopian classics as 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale ."-- Booklist Essex, England, 1645. Read more...
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More About The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown
"This is a novel for our times. . . . The Witchfinder's Sister lays] bare the visceral horror of what a witch hunt truly is."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice) "Vivid and terrifying."--Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water "Connects nicely with such dystopian classics as 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale."--Booklist
Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth--but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew's soul.
There is a new darkness in the town, too--frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice's blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he's become, Alice is desperate to intervene--and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew's reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.
Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother's brutal mission--and is drawn into the Hopkins family's past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils--before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.
Inspired by the real-life story of notorious "Witchfinder General" Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown's thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with echoes of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale
for a truly haunting reading experience. Praise for The Witchfinder's Sister
"Entertaining and thought-provoking--with a valuable message for our own times."--The Washington Post
"Highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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This debut historical novel is a well-written dramatization of witch hunting in Europe during the 17th century. Based loosely on the life of a real English witch finder named Matthew Hopkins, the story is narrated by his sister, Alice, who, pregnant, must return to her brothers household in the village of Manningtree after the death of her husband in London. As Matthews ward, Alice can only watch as her brothers behavior spirals into fanaticism and cruelty. She knows childhood trauma informs his actionsnot only was his face disfigured in a mysterious accident as a child, but he was denied the opportunity to follow in their fathers footsteps as a minister. As Matthew coldly and methodically goes about the business of watching several local women, keeping them awake and bound for hours on end while waiting for their devilish imps to appear, Alice becomes desperate to get to the bottom of what is compelling him. As the hysteria, and his influence, grows, Matthew is called to other communities, forcing Alice to accompany him. After witnessing his failure to stop one particularly unspeakable act, she finally rebels, and he turns on her. Though histrionic towards the end, this is an entertaining yarn for readers who cant get enough of the subject matter. (Apr.)