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 has no choice but to return 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 witches, and of a great book, in which her brother is gathering women’s names.
To what lengths will her brother’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 a richly told historical tale set in 1645.
Based on a real life character, Beth Underdown has written a tightly woven plot that combines fact with fiction and has created a brilliant novel that intrigues, interests and fascinates its reader.
Alice Hopkins, having returned home to Manningtree and her younger brother Matthew, finds herself in the midst of superstition, madness and a host of women accused of witchcraft.
Matthew , facially scared through being burned as an infant, is travelling the land finding these poor unfortunate women and bringing them to justice. However, his heavy handed ways of proving the accusations are quite something, and Underdowns highly descriptive passages are horrifying and emotive.
The stench, poverty and hunger of these unfortunates, are laced with how the rich hound the widowed, the childless and even the mentally ill. The abusive nature of the men involved in the Witch-hunts are all to real, and with references to Bible scripture seemingly make their actions acceptable.
Alice uncovers the circumstances of Matthews birth and his accident, and when she finds herself at his mercy she has to be strong enough to make a decision that not only shocks but is also one that the reader does not expect.
The Witchfinder’s Sister is not a speed read, which is a good thing. I found it fascinating and with the history of witchcraft and it’s hunters easy to find on Google makes this an exceptional debut.