Welcome here a writer in full control - this a tale of magic, mischief and malevolence. Wild and whirling words describe the 1645 plight of young Nell in a tiny highly superstitious West Country community. Here there be piskies "uglier than dead hedgehogs", Nell's "splutter-minded" granny, the new Puritan minister with a face "like a trodden parsnip". His quest is to drive evil from the village, "frolicking" especially. Little does he know his own daughter Grace has "frolicked" and is about to bring troubles down upon all. Nearly fifty years later, Grace's long suffering sister Patience at last reveals what really happened....
The story is great all the way through. Nell is a Merrybegot, one protected by The Powers - like her "cunning woman" granny, she a healer of illness, deliverer of babies, the one to turn to in times of woe. Far away but about to intrude, is a purge against witchcraft - for a fee, Witch-Finder General Matthew Hopkins only too keen to expose unsavoury practices, the gallows to follow.
Hysteria mounts and passions boil over - helped along by the spiteful tiny piskies so adept at sniffing out trouble and fanning the flames. (Fairies are little use, they most tetchy and not to be trusted.)
All in all, there is quite a mix, the various strands skilfully interwoven. The climax excites, with an interesting aftermath.
From the very start I was engrossed, happy to be swept along by such literary exuberance. In short, a veritable treat.