Today is my stop on the Witchfinder’s Sister blog tour and I have for you all a review of this fascinating book!
Before you hear my thoughts though, here is some information on the book.
About the Book
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 has no choice but to return 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 witches, and of a great book, in which her brother is gathering women’s names.
To what lengths will her brother’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?
Generally speaking I am one of those readers that loves a variety of genres but I have always struggled with historical fiction. And thus you may be wondering why I then decided to review this book. The answer is quite simple. The book just sounded so very interesting and I had to see what it was all about. I am very glad that I took that leap of faith with this book because I ended up really enjoying the book. There were a few parts that I struggled with due to my distaste of historical fiction but fortunately this did not ruin my overall opinion of the book.
What initially drew me to this book was the storyline being about witches and the witch trials that happened in the 1600s. It is one of those odd periods of history that I actually find quite fascinating. Horrible and disheartening to realise women were treated so awfully but it is also a nice reminder of just how far we have come. Thus I am pleased to report that the plot of this book was compelling and addictive. I found myself turning the pages as quickly as I could just to find out how it was all going to end. And what an ending! Very, very clever.
There was a vast array of characters in the novel, some of whom I felt for, some of whom I vehemently detested. Beth Underdown did a fantastic job of creating realistic characters throughout the novel, and did a marvellous job of describing them all as well. By far my favourite character was Grace. Although only a side character, she was so sweet and lovely, hardworking and also shy. I wanted everything to go okay for her in the end. She is definitely a character that I would love to read more about. Alice is also a fascinating character to read about and she had a very distinctive and interesting voice.
While this book is not one that I would ordinarily pick up, it was one that I found myself enthralled by. It was an emotional, heart-breaking and fascinating book to read that I would recommend to others easily. There were some fictional historical texts interspersed which I struggled with and some other moments within the narrative that I found hard to understand but fortunately this did not ruin my enjoyment of the book. So if you’re looking to read an entertaining and intriguing book about the witch hunting that happened in the 1600s, you should definitely give this book a read.
About the Author
Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.
The Witchfinder’s Sister is her debut novel, and is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins.
She first came across him while reading a book about seventeenth-century midwifery. As you do.