I have some Good news bad news. Daughters of the Witching Hill. I've heard positive things (and seen good sales) about author
Mary Sharratt's novels for a while. Daughters is her fourth historical novel. She has been on my To Do list since Vanishing Point came out and looked...well, had a pretty cover. ---I wish I could say the say for Daughters by the way. Ick. It looks like a collection of boring writings you might have to read for a class.
This novel is a what if, fictionalized account, inspired by true events retelling of the Pendle Witch Trails of 1612. In Sharratt's Pendle grandmother Bess and granddaughter Alizon lead a life on the margins. They are under no ones protection and therefore suspects in everything and anything negative that occurs in the local community. Bess supports her small family with healing, herbal medicines and some fortune telling. She is also schooling Alizon and neighbor Anne in her craft. When a magistrate manipulates Alizon into a confession of witchcraft, things go from hard to incarceration.
This was a well written novel. The plot and characters were strong and entertaining if predictable. Daughters of the Witching Hill could have used more editing to tighten up the plot and lose some occasional heavy handed description about the herb-ology. It did not engage me enough to want to read more of Sharratt myself at this time but I did have the brilliant idea to pass the book on to fifteen year old niece O. She devoured it. It has become a favorite for her. Which leads me back to the good new bad news. Good news is that Daughters of the Witching Hill is an excellent choice for a teenager with an interest in historical fiction. The bad is that is was not an excellent choice for me.