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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, readable, atmospheric
I enjoyed reading this one afternoon over the Christmas holidays, so I was surprised to read the many negative reviews and wanted to restore some balance.

I freely admit I don't know a lot about the Pendle trials, and I do have a thing about historical accuracy, so this would possibly have annoyed me if I were an expert, but I have checked with a friend in the...
Published 22 months ago by A Ryder

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Messy and muddled (review contains spoilers)
I've loved a lot of Winterson's writing, and have enjoyed other books in this Hammer series - but sadly this combination just doesn't work here. Taking her cue from the real case of the Pendle witches, Winterson pulls together a heady brew of Satanism, anti-Catholicism, rape and sexual violence, torture and death.

The problem is that there's far too much going...
Published 19 months ago by Roman Clodia


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrible horror but generically interesting, 1 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hammer) (Paperback)
Winterson's novel isn't a recreation of events in Lancashire in 1612, although some reviewers were understandably expecting that it might have more connection to the real lives and deaths of the witches on the 400th anniversary of their trials. This is really an accident of timing and marketing, I think. Having accepted early on that this was not what the book was about, I thought it was an interesting genre fiction which is more about playing with stories than it is about the witchcraft trial. The truly unpleasant horror - re-animated corpses, rape, incest etc - seems to be there to remind us that cruelty and misogyny were key features of the period (and are of human life in general) but also that they are key features of the horror genre. Winterson talks about having to find a new voice or new self with which to write this commission, and seeing it as a challenge - could she write a Hammer book? I think this is a perfectly fair motivation, although it seems to have confused fans and critics at times. What she's done is contribute an unusual and complex book to the Hammer tradition. It bubbles with incident and is as crowded, sensational, bizarre and florid as any Hammer film. I saw it as a literary-cultural game rather than a novel of social realism or even magical realism, and it might be best to approach it in that way, with some detachment and awareness that you will not necessarily get what you expect.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Debasing and disgraceful, 4 Sep 2012
By 
Mrs. Julie M. Aspin "JMA" (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hardcover)
This story competely debases the memory of real people who lost their lives because of the greed and glory-hunting of others. Jeanette Winterson plays very loose with the 'facts' - if there are any facts for this story. I have researched the Lancashire Witch Trials in some depth - there is no 'evidence' apart from Thomas Potts 1613 book giving his account of the trials - biased to say the least. To turn Alice Nutter into a bi-sexual brothel owner is a disgrace, as it to write so lewdly about a blind old lady who died unconvicted. Other 'characters' in this story are given similar treatment. The author cannot decide whether she is writing a story about 17th century northern England or about the London theatrical set. It is a real fight of fancy which does nothing towards helping find the 'truth' of this story or to commemorate the people involved. The author has jumped on the 400th anniversary bandwagon. The sad truth is that just as over 100 years ago peope believed Harrison Ainsworth's novel was fact, there are some people who will believe this one. My advice is to leave well alone and read instead Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the haters, it's good !, 31 Dec 2013
I'm a bit baffled by all of these reviewers who seem shocked that a book about the horrors committed against supposed witches is dark and violent and disturbing - what did they expect, The Thorn Birds ?!? The Daylight Gate is an excellent, gritty, very fast-moving tale of witchcraft and the horrors perpetrated against women by a misogynistic patriarchal society, with an unexpected and quite moving love story hidden in there for good measure. It's an impressive novella because it manages to pay a nice homage to the kind of films that Hammer used to make (it's published under the Hammer imprint) - although interestingly it's more reminiscent in tone to some of the non-Hammer cult witch movies of the late 60s/early 70s such as Witchfinder General and Blood On Satan's Claw - but also feels quite modern in its examination of how men used the madness of the times to commit terrible atrocities against women, and with its decidedly grim, gritty nihilism. I feel this would make a terrific BBC prestige mini-series, and as a creepy, well-written and disturbing novella it more than satisfies.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but Shocking, 24 Aug 2012
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I have been looking forward to reading this as I am very interested in the Pendle Witch story and I read some of Winterson's work when I was at uni. I was already familiar with some of the characters as I have visited Pendle, Newchurch and seen Alice Nutter's grave. So it was interesting to read this story and to see what the author would do with the characters that I had done some research about.

This is told in a way that is faithful to the historic facts of the recorded story but embellished with a vivid background of why these events might have happened. Winterson gives the reader an horrific and raw telling of what would happen to the people who were accused of witchcraft and what would have happened to them when they were in Lancaster Castle. The story of Alice Nutter is a gripping one and I couldn't help but hope...

The prose is concise and beautifully crafted which makes the horror of the story all the sharper and the behaviour of the people involved so shocking. The only thing I would have liked is some more details of the trial itself, which was glossed over. Otherwise, I really liked it and definitely worth downloading.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not nice, 20 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. K. H. Cobb (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hammer) (Paperback)
I've just read this. It's not long, took me less than an hour, somewhere between a novella and a short story. But it packs a punch. Most of what happens is not very nice. There's pedophilia, rape, incest, torture, lesbianism, religious persecution, deprivation, disease, an element of the supernatural, and more. It's a brutish and uncivilised world, but nothing there that hasn't continued since, or goes on even now. I won't go into the actual content, and I suspect that it might give me a few bad dreams, but I'm glad I read it. I think....
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exorcism?, 8 Jan 2013
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An interesting book, I can't say I enjoyed it as such, but it had that kind of car-crash quality about it where you couldn't look away despite wanting to, so had to read to the end.
A lot of recognisable archetype's among the characters along with a lot of pain and horror. I wondered if it were being written out of the author's psyche, it had that feel about it. I was relieved when i'd finished. I do really like JW as a writer, I just felt this work was more for the writer than the reader....
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the hype!, 26 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hardcover)
After all the hype I was looking forward to this book but was immediately disappointed. The characters have no depth and the writing style is more that of a newspaper article than a novel. Though I persevered for a while I ended up giving up and have consigned this to the charity shop pile - I wish I had waited for the paperback rather than wasting the cost of a hardback!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Daylight Gate, 17 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hardcover)
I absolutely loved this book. It is steeped with historical detail and there is a plethora of quirky characters, reminiscent of Andrew Miller's Ingenious Pain. The prose is incredible well-written and Winterson has a great story-telling voice. While it perhaps is not very sympathetic in the portrayal of the Pendle witches, it has all the ingredients that made Macbeth's witches memorable.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping gothic read., 10 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hardcover)
I loved Jeanette Winterson's interpretation of the story of the Pendle witches. I read this book in one go and slept with the light on.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking witchy yarn, wish i'd read ii at hallowweeen!, 2 May 2013
This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hammer) (Paperback)
I'd read some pretty unfavorable reviews about this book but stupidly bought the book before I read them.

Anyway, forget the bad press, I found The Daylight Gate hugely entertaining. There are some nasty bits which are quite disturbing though, so its not for the faint hearted. I just hope it isn't true!!!!!!!!!!!!
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The Daylight Gate (Hammer)
The Daylight Gate (Hammer) by Jeanette Winterson (Paperback - 14 Mar 2013)
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