Prequel to The Black Hours,
This review is from: Blackwater (Kindle Edition)
'The Black Hours' was Alison Williams' debut novel which narrated the sufferings of Alice Pendle, a 17th century healer and midwife, at the hands of Matthew Hopkins, the self-styled Witchfinder General. The character of Alice was engagingly drawn and readers were interested in the mystery surrounding her mother Lizzie and father Samuel. Alison Williams has written this novella as a prequel to 'The Black Hours' and it explores Lizzie and Maggie's life as 'cunning women' who heal the sick with herbal remedies, to the chagrin of their intolerant neighbours.
Lizzie is a more adventurous figure than her daughter Alice. Her romance with Samuel Pendle is traced by the author with more assurance than in 'The Black Hours' - Alison Williams' style is clearly developing. In the face of his family's disapproval and an accusation of witchcraft, the young family must flee to a safer home. With the birth of daughter Alice, tragedy looms.
Readers who are already invested in the Pendles from reading 'The Black Hours' will find the story nicely resolved here. However, other than a reference to Guy Fawkes, there is little sense of historical context and without the twisted figure of Matthew Hopkins looming over them, the lovers' troubles do seem less compelling.