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Daughters of the Witching Hill

Daughters of the Witching Hill [Kindle Edition]

Mary Sharratt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Daughters of theWitching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt.

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 folk 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.

Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hill is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation.

This e-book includes a sample chapter of ILLUMINATIONS.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1088 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0547069677
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (7 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003U8AKHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,670 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughters of the Witching Hill 17 May 2010
The best and most powerful book about the Pendle Witches I have ever read. Living just across the Lancashire Border I am familiar with the story of Chattox and Demdike and the history of the Pendle Witches. But this book has taken me to places I could never have imagined. I was very graphically and realistically drawn into their century, into the brooding landscape of Pendle Hill, into the lives and circumstances of those women, and I felt every one of their emotion and pain and anguish right to the bitter end.
If you only ever read one book about the Pendle Witches - let it be this one. You will not be disappointed.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow of Pendle 8 April 2010
I grew up almost in the shadow of Pendle Hill, so stories of the seventeenth-century witch-hunt are familiar and haunting. I remember pinching my mother's copy of Robert Neill's "Mist over Pendle" to read by torchlight under the bedclothes, and later finding Harrison Ainsworth's rather Gothic "Lancashire Witches" interesting but ultimately unsatisfactory.

There have been other novels and re-tellings of this extraordinary story and I was a little nervous on opening this latest one - would it be Burning Times propaganda or a reductionist view of the events? In fact, I enjoyed the book immensely and found it difficult to put down. Mary Sharratt shows us familiar events in a new light, telling the story in the voice of Bess Southerns (aka Demdike), the oldest and perhaps most interesting of all the characters. She brings Bess to vibrant, loving, occasionally challenging life, with an authentic voice.

I will confess that I once thought of writing this story myself, but was very young at the time and simply had no real understanding of that vanished world of the 17th century - so different from and yet so tantalisingly familiar to us. The issues of that time and place come vividly to life in the novel, well-researched and fascinating. Lancashire was seen as a hotbed of Catholicism and adherents of this "old religion" included many influential families. To many Protestants, Catholicism was dangerously superstitious and almost synonymous with paganism or witchcraft.

Mary Sharratt also deals with some of the more difficult ideas of the time - witch marks, familiar spirits and the like - with grace and never asks me to suspend disbelief further than I'm able to.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witches of Pendle Hill brought to life! 31 Mar 2010
Bess Southerns heals the sick and foretells the future, earning herself a reputation of a cunning woman with those living in Pendle Forest. Her craft is passed down through her family and she also teaches some to her friend.

Set in Lancashire, England, during the early 17th century (a time when the Catholic religion was banned and witch-hunts were a big thing) Daughters of the Witching Hill is a tale of how a family struggles through poverty. They survive largely due to Bess' craft until the day her granddaughter, Alizon, meets a peddler in the road who refuses to sell her some pins. Following Alizon'z harsh words, the peddler suffers a stroke which leads to her being accused of being a witch. The local magistrate is keen to make a name for himself as a witch finder and plays the family members and neighbours against each other until eventually thirteen people in total are arrested.

Although the start of this book seemed a little slow to me, it was well written and clearly well researched and historically accurate. The book is based on a true story but written from a first person point of view of two of the characters.

The second part of the book switches narration from Bess to Alizon and it was at this point where it seemed to pick up and started to capture me. Each of the characters are well written and even towards the end when it seemed inevitable what was going to happen to them, there was still a little part of me hoping that they would all live happily ever after. Although the end was pretty predictable, the book was more about the characters and in particular how they survived as a family, rather than where they ended up.

An enjoyable read, this book would be more suited to fans of historical fiction than those who like the fantasy element of witchcraft.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating 22 April 2010
Although I live in the North West and one of my partner's ancestors is reputed to be one of the Pendle witches I knew very little about the story until reading this book. And what an eye-opener it was! Beautifully and vividly written with lively prose and memorable characters Daughters of the Witching Hill not only tells a gripping story but gives all the detail of the social and political background to a very chilling `witch-hunt'. The perilous circumstances of poverty, inequality and famine sit side by side with breath-taking descriptions of the natural world. Excellent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely bewitched by this story 15 April 2013
My goodness this woman can WRITE an engrossing tale! Having read and loved The Vanishing Pointand Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen I knew she was an author whose work I can get into easily and enjoy - but I don't think I'd fully realized quite how diverse her talent is - there's no way you could pigeonhole her work, as she always seems to take a different subject that really interests her - researches it throughly and then immerses herself in that period of history, or puts herself in that persons mind and what emerges is so interesting and fascinating you can't help but believe in the characters and be swept along by the story.

Daughters of the witching hill is perhaps my favourite of her works yet - based on the true subject of the Pendle witch trials in Lancashire, something I knew a little about, she fictionalizes the stories of the women tried for witchcraft in the early 1600s when superstition and religious hatred was rife and opressed and poverty stricken common people had little else to fire their imginations and King James 1st in his fervour of desire to oust witches and the old religions writes a book on how to spot a witch and begins a fever of witch hunts which are sure to ensnare the innocent ans well as the truly evil.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you
Published 5 days ago by rosie2
5.0 out of 5 stars Has stayed with me and changed me.
I read a lot of books, and this is quite simply the best book I have had the pleasure of reading. This author can write astonishingly well, and I am about to read it for the second... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughters of the Witching Hill.
What a beautifully written book this really is! While I already knew the outcome of what happened Demdike and Chattox, it was like reading this story for the first time. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ty from Wales
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This is a subject I knew nothing about, even though I live locally and was aware of the 'Pendle Witches'. Read more
Published 5 months ago by aoife
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This is one of the best novels about traditional witchcraft I have ever read. The historical research is impeccable - with the grinding reality of the poverty and superstition of... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mj Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughters of the Witching Hill
Daughters of the Witching Hill speaks to the time of the beginning of the 15th century and the wise women of Pendle Hill and Forest. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Croi
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating novelistic account of the Pendle witches
This is a fictionalised account of the demise of the witches of Pendle Forest in Lancashire. It follows three generations of one family who use medicinal herbs and Catholic prayers... Read more
Published 12 months ago by DubaiReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
I have always been spellbound by the Lancashire Witches from being a small girl and have read most of the novels about them and the era. Read more
Published 12 months ago by MJJ
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pendle Witches
I've read a few volumes on this subject. This book has perhaps got far closer to the true facts of what really happened in 1612.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good tale from Pendle.
Another good novel about Pendle & its inhabitants.

It's sections are told by the main characters & gives a different slant on their journey through life. Read more
Published 17 months ago by miniknitwit
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