MALKIN CHILD is a beautifully presented hardback book and well worth the money.
The recent anniversary has brought the story of the Pendle witches to the notice of the public once again - 1612 was a deeply disturbing period of our history. Jennet Device was the young girl who gave evidence at the witch trials against her own family, which led to their convictions. How could such a thing have happened?
Livi Michael digs deep into history and comes up with a convincing explanation. The story is told vividly and with warmth - Jennet, the central character, is a believable child, raised in a situation of dire poverty, experiencing sibling rivalry and the normal jealousies and strife that can be present in any family, let alone one that is living on the brink of starvation. Because the story is so well known, I thought that the ending would hold no surprises for me, but I still found that the realisation and revelation of what Jennet had brought about was shocking. The tale cleverly moves on past the trials to find a touch of something positive in the ending. This is a refreshing viewpoint, as Jennet is often presented as the villain of the piece.
Livi Michael's prose is clear, easy to read and at times lyrical - the story flows along with deceptive ease, for a project that must have required a great deal of detailed research.