From Fantastic Fiction
A wonderfully atmospheric, intricating woven, magical modern-day tale of the Pendle Witches. The animosity and anger betwen the accused and the accusers -- which tore the community apart in the seventeenth century -- is still going strong today.
The animosity and anger between the accused and the accusers -- which tore the community apart in the seventeenth century -- is still going strong in the present day. A couple go to Pendle and the woman is caught up in the legend that has haunted the area for centuries.
This story tells the tale of the Pendle Witches who were incarcerated in Lancaster Castle awaiting trial at the Lancaster Assizes in 1612. According to some reviews the more cynical reader feels that Winterson wrote this book in order to cash in on the fact that it was 400 years since the trials last year when it was published.
I've nothing to compare this with as I've not read any of Winterson's books before. The writing wasn't bad and it's not a long read at all. I did feel that there was quite often gratuitous sex scenes of varying degrees, that in my opinion didn't really add to the story at all.
I felt that the writer did convey some of the bleakness of this period in history regarding the persecution and prejudices against the Catholics and the fear of herbalists and healers, that some people would call Witches as they were frightened of these women and men. Whilst loosely based on factual events and real people there was a lot of fictional padding out. I'd much rather have read a better researched book on this subject. I felt the story was lacking any depth.
However, it was nice reading about local areas to myself as I live within 10 miles of Lancaster castle.
I gave this a 4/10.