Sunday, 19 March 2017


Today is my stop on the The Witchfinder's Sister blog tour.  I have reviewed the book and I'm also delighted to be able to offer you the chance to win five hardback copies (UK only)

Published by Penguin on 2nd March 2017

'The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...'
1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.
But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.
To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

The Witchfinder's Sister is an exceptional novel.  It begins in 1645 and is spoken by Alice Hopkins who seems to be held a prisoner, she has gone without food for 3 days.  It is Christmas which is a time for fasting not feasting now.  She decides to write down everything that she knows about her brother - she wants everyone to know the truth - and this is her story of what happened over the past year.
And what a horrendous story it is.
It all began when she came back home after losing her husband in London.  Her brother Matthew and she parted on bad words five years ago and she's fearful of his welcome.  She need not have worried as he is very pleased to see her ..... at first.
I could really connect with and identify with Alice.  She is such a kind person, and she always sees the good in people, including Matthew.  She believes the best of people, and she doesn't believe the rumours she hears from the servants that Matthew is writing names in a book and has become quite a powerful figure in the area.  She makes excuses for his bad temper.
The book has a sense of foreboding as gradually the truth slowly and horrifically dawns on Alice what and who Matthew had become.
On the surface he seems calm, polite and respectful, but underneath he is so frightening, unpredictable and compelling.  We only see him through Alice's eyes and so we only know what she knows.
I loved the way the novel was written - in a similar style to the talk of the 17th century.  It really gave an air of believability to the story.  
The writing is so descriptive, so powerful, I really had some sense of how superstitious the people were in those times.
A brilliant novel by a debut author.

Meet the Author

Beth Underdown lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. Her first novel, The Witchfinder's Sister, is based on the life of the 1640s witchfinder Matthew Hopkins. Beth's interest in seventeenth-century England was sparked by the work of her great-uncle David Underdown, one of that period's foremost historians. She came across a brief mention of Matthew Hopkins while reading a book about midwifery, igniting an interest which turned into an all-consuming hunt for the elusive truth about this infamous killer.

I am delighted that I can offer one of FIVE Hardback copies of The Witchfinder's Sister to you.
Entry is by Rafflecopter below.
UK entries only please.
Giveaway ends Sunday 2 April 2017 at midnight.
If you're lucky enough to win this great prize I will email the winners shortly afterwards and obtain their addresses for the publishers to send out their prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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