How I came by `Rebecca's Trap' is not important, suffice to say it is not of a genre I would typically pick off the bookshelf, but I am very glad I did.
The novel is set at the time of the English civil war and the first thing I noticed is the accurate historical detail the author employs; you sense early on there was no slapdash approach to researching this aspect of the story.
Very early in the book, we learn that Jessica's mother was burned as a witch and had her goods seized. I wondered if the author wasn't using the mass hysteria of the time as an allegory for some of the more modern insanity we get from the government and attendant ludicrous fines, just as Arthur Miller did in `The Crucible'
We discover however that witchcraft and demons are indeed real. Jessica, the books heroine and central character is forced into a series of alliances and as a reader, you are never sure if she is about to be betrayed. The `bad guys' are manifested in human and demonic form, but this is no simple good versus evil tale, as Jessica's enemies are by no means united in their quest to overcome her and turn on each other. Hence the plot is complex and for me, this is the craft of good story telling. I am being deliberately light on the detail of the story as it really is one you want to read, but I would point to two things; first, I finished it quickly, always a good sign, second, the book is very much set up for a sequel (albeit the plot issues are largely resolved, no J K Rowling nonsense here) and I will read the second book if the author writes one.
If I had to sum up the book in a sound-bite I would describe it as adult Buffy. I mean this as high praise as I rate Joss Whedon's TV series of the same name as one of the best shows in TV in the last couple of decades. Like the show it delves into fantasy, but unlike the show it is much darker and more complex. This is a very, very good book.