Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more Fire Kids Edition Shop Kindle Shop now Pre-order now Shop Men's Shop Women's

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 6 September 2010
A peddler is accosted by a woman on the edge of the wild moorland surrounding Pendle Hill. The young lady, a local cunning woman, is after new pins, a vital ingredient in early modern spellcraft. The peddler takes fright; he stumbles as he retreats into a local inn. It is from this trivial incident that one of the most well known (and well documented) of 17th century witch trials will grow. We meet the committed, clever Justice of the Peace Roger Nowell who uses this incident to build a case intended to crush the cunning folk of Pendle. This is a ripping yarn, a court-room drama where evidence, manipulation, defiance and desperation infuse the page-turning tale that the author expertly unfolds.

Joyce Froome meticulously peels back the layers in this case, looking in detail at the archives from the period. Her work is informed by later writers but what comes across immediately is the sense that she's really immersed herself in the primary documents. This alone should mark this out as a valuable historical text. But there is much, much more to Wicked Enchantments that a rock solid history.

The Pendle case is set in a wider context by the author; spirit communication, medieval and early modern magical practice, theological and popular attitudes to magicians are all discussed. The context that Joyce creates includes a penetrating reading of the famous case of Gilles de Rais and a close analysis of the origins, metaphysics and use of folk charms.

Wicked Enchantments also archives the distinction of being beautifully produced, including evocative photographs of various occult experiments and objects from the collection of the Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft. The author writes herself beautifully into the story of the cunning folk with her own description of trying out scrying, and the rationale for a belief in the efficacy of magic is sensitively explored.

This sensitivity in the writing is particularly in evidence when we come to the trials of the witches (which are described in detail) and the executions (which are not). This is a book that understands the perspectives of all the actors; it shies away from bland interpretations of Roger Nowell as `the baddie' and the cunning folk as the heroes of the story. But what it does do is tell the tale, without pulling any punches over the horrors of gaol and torture, but without fetishising the myth of the `Burning Times'. The story Joyce tells is far too human for that.

So if you want to discover the old magic of Britain rather than read any number of reconstructionist texts about `traditional witchcraft' I'd recommend this book. You'll find both hard facts and beguiling mystery in Wicked Enchantments. This is a fine testament to those cunning folk who died during this tragic period in our nation's history, and an intelligent look at how magic exists in culture. Highly recommended. Julian Vayne
11 comment| 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 June 2010
A fascinating account of the Pendle witch trials and the lives of those involved. This is a weighty book, packed with details of folk magic and cunning of the period and well illustrated throughout with many photos of magical artefacts and some of the archived original trial documents housed within The Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft. (The Museum owner is happy to welcome visitors to study the archives by prior appointment - ring 01840 250111 for more info.)
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 June 2012
I would rate this as one of the best sources of information for anyone interested in the background, events, characters and history of the notorious Lancashire Witch Trials of 1612. The writer has done her homework and, setting the events into the context of the turbulent times in which they took place, presents a vivid account of this travesty of justice. I found it riveting.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 June 2013
This is a very interesting book about the Pendle witches and their trial and subsequent fate. It is almost unbelievable that anyone would take seriously the accusations that were made against them.
The author manages to bring the characters to life and although I cannot describe it as an enjoyable read it is certainly a fascinating one.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 August 2013
I rate this 5 star a great read I was a little disappointed with some of the contents as I had expected a few more ,,,,,,, "how to" spells and a little more info on the actual trials, but, all in all good
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 January 2015
Couldn't get into it although fascinated by the Pendle Witches. May be to do with me more than the author.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 April 2014
Bought for my mum, who loves it. A must for anyone interested in learning more about the Pendle Witches -
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 November 2014
interesting book a good read
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 August 2014
Fantastic book xxx
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 January 2013
good eye opener of what the witches were like and what enchantments they done gripping reading and suspence was good and keep me reading untill the end of the book had to keep reading
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)