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Mist Over Pendle

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  308 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Against a background of witchcraft in 17th-century rural Lancashire, ROBERT NEILL has woven an extraordinary novel of the power of evil...
Paperback, 404 pages
Published July 10th 1992 by Arrow Books (first published 1951)
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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingTo the Grave by Steve  Robinson
UKAKF Top 100 Books
27th out of 100 books — 38 voters
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Historical Witches
9th out of 9 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 667)
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Brenda  Britton
Dec 06, 2011 Brenda Britton rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time and I have read it many times. I was of course influenced to a certain extent because the story is set in Lancashire, England where I hail from. The story is based on true facts regarding witch trials in the 1600s in Lancashire and there are several books written about this subject. This book is esentially a historical fiction including original names of the witches and certain prominent names from that time. Another book called, "The Lancashire Witch ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Janice rated it did not like it
Utter rubbish. I feel conned. Witchcraft? What witchcraft, it's all about sewing dresses and moaning. Bloody dreadful. And I've owned this book for thirty years, finally got to read it, I wish I'd burned it at the stake instead.
Sep 17, 2014 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's always weird when you realize that what you read is not what you thought you read. I had no idea until today that this story had a historical basis: the Pendle witches of Lancashire.

Neill fleshed out the historical record by supposing motive and character and (I assume) adding the wholly fictional Margery Whittaker. Aside from Margery's involvement, he takes a very conservative approach: the witches are not recast sympathetically as humble practitioners of folk medicine, nor were they part
I'm sad that this book wasn't as awesome as I was expecting/hoping it to be. I mean, it sounded like a good idea... and I generally love witch-trial type of books, and for the first say hundred pages I was really into it. But then it somehow changed. Or maybe it was just too long and the style that held me for 100 pages just couldn't hold me for 300 more. It was rather dry and stodgy, and there were just too many characters to keep track of. I liked Roger and Margery a lot, but then more people ...more
Jade aka MrsTosh
Aug 02, 2011 Jade aka MrsTosh rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVE this book!! Being raised in Lancaster the place where the Pendle witches stood trial it has always been a big part of the towns history and I have been brought up with the story. It has always fascinated me and even taken me on a Pendle Witches Tour from Lancaster Castle to Pendle Hill and the surrounding areas.

I found this book so powerful and moving that I saw myself walking down the country lane cursing the peddler! just imagining what the 12 accused must have gone through e
Jo Barton
Nov 02, 2012 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Halloween reading 2012.

I first read this book when I was teenager at school - so that's long enough ago for me to have forgotten just how good this story is.

The story of the Pendle witches is particularly relevant in 2012 as it is the four hundredth anniversary of the Lancashire witches. This most famous of witch trials took place in the forest and hills of the North Lancashire moors, a place that was as cold, dark and inhospitable as the landscape.

When Margery Whittaker is sent to live with
Sarah Davies
Mar 15, 2014 Sarah Davies rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, sadly I believe it might be out of print. My mother recommended it to me when I was about 16 and it is just lovely, I've read it and the read it many times I'm the years since. Some people may not appreciate the subtleties of the anxiety and superstitions of the Jacobean period surrounding the idea of witchcraft which this book presents because it is very subtle and usually suggested rather than explicit; to me this is what is so clever about this book it shows that the fear o ...more
Jenny (Border Dweller)
Dec 28, 2011 Jenny (Border Dweller) rated it it was amazing
An amazing re-reading experience after almost 20 years. This is a beautifully told tale of events leading up to the Pendle Witch Trials, firmly grounded in the beliefs, customs and everyday life of the 17th Century. The characters are well drawn and, though perhaps a little unsubtle for modern readers, this does not detract from the strong story-telling.
Helen Gray
Jan 06, 2015 Helen Gray rated it liked it
A wonderful old-fashioned romp of a story, well-researched historically, and not without humour. None of the sighs and shrugs usually abundant in historical romance, but plenty of crinkled foreheads. I enjoyed the depictions of the Puritans and Catholics. I didn't enjoy the depiction of the poor and disabled. The heroine, Margery, was a bit of a goody two shoes. First half of book was fascinating, second half was a slog, and there was no build up of tension to what I thought was a weak ending.
Mar 11, 2009 Sparkles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time favorite books from childhood. I often liked to read it around Halloween. A mystery set to the backdrop of the a real historical event of the Pendle witches. Love this book.

Note: alternate title is "Mist Over Pendle" which I believe, is the title released in the UK.
Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill

The Lancashire Witch trials of 1612 were the basis for this story. We have a young puritan girl, Margery, sent to her cousin Roger Nowell because her family doesn’t know what to do with her (she is distinctly un-puritan) and nobody can provide her with a dowry to marry her off. Roger’s way of life is more to Margery’s taste and, freed of the restrictions her upbringing had imposed on her, we see her blossom into an intelligent young woman. She accompanies her cous
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 13, 2014 Selene rated it liked it
Shelves: reader-group
It was a good little story based on real life events. The ending let this down hugely, I felt the end had just been dumped on the top without tying it together. Suppose I wanted a bit of happy ever after.
Sep 22, 2011 Brightfeather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites
I cant say that this is anything like i would have expected,
I enjoyed this book so much, fab writing style , wonderful characters , loved it.
Penny Little
Feb 01, 2013 Penny Little rated it really liked it
An enjoyable story. I really liked the character of Margery. A taste of what Pendle was like in 1612.
Apr 10, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it
I have reread this and although its a little dated it is a good read about the Pendle Witches.
Nicola Cornick
Mar 19, 2011 Nicola Cornick rated it it was amazing
A splendid piece of historical fiction.
Oct 19, 2013 Ellie rated it really liked it
Mist Over Pendle was nothing like I had imagined it to be, and was probably all the better for it.

The story is set in 1611-12, against a background of the events leading up to the famous Pendle Witch Trials; using what was known of the trials, from Thomas Potts' contemporary account in The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches, and of social mores at the time, Robert Neill presents a fictional imagining of the events leading up to the final committal for trial. A book centring on witchcraft was, I as
Lisa Lilly
Most of the time I read suspense, mysteries and horror, but my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The Elegant Witch, set in England in the early 1600s, has an engaging writing style and sense of irony that remind me of Austen, but a plot and mood more along the lines of suspense/mystery. Margery, the youngest sibling and misfit in her Puritan family, is sent to live with her kinsman Roger, who is also a Justice of the Peace in the small town of Pendle. Initially, Pendle seems l ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Catherine rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madame Zak
Jul 27, 2014 Madame Zak rated it it was amazing
I first read this in my early teens and was fascinated by it. I've re-read it multiple times and still love it for the sheer detail and vividness of the writing. How far it strays from the historical truth I'm not enough of a historian to know, though it's fairly likely that the Pendle witch trials were the same sort of misogynistic scapegoating as all the others were.
Still a lovely, enthralling, rather comforting read, particularly for chilly autumn evenings.
Apr 19, 2014 Wallum rated it really liked it
Despite taking a stance I usually disagree with, that of witches being evil, this novel was an enjoyable read, mainly due to the wonderful wordcrafting. This beautifully written book transported me back to the 1600's where I cantered through verdant copses listening to the snow crunch under my horse's feet. This is a well written historical fiction.
Charlie Trafford
I love this book as I live in Lancashire and spend a large proportion of my life around this area, its been a part of my life since I was young, its a powerful and moving book, especially precious to me as its near my home, might not be that interesting if you are not familiar with the Lancashire Witch Trials.
Emma Slaughter
Jul 19, 2015 Emma Slaughter rated it it was ok
I found this book slow to start, the middle was good, but the ending chapter seemed like the end of a chapter and not the end of a book. There was also an overuse of a few metaphors that could have done with some cutting down.
Apr 16, 2016 Kirsty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not what I imagined based on the cover blurb. Lots about dresses, horseriding, etiquette, men, & court proceedings. Not so much about Witchcraft, forests & mysterious mysteries! Ok, but not really what I had in mind when I started the book. This book is Historical Fiction, & I think the version I have got is very poorly represented by the cover Illustration & description.
Nov 05, 2013 Danielle rated it really liked it
Based on the Pendle Witch trials, this book gives an exciting and rich account of some of the scandals and characters associated with the events that took place in Pendle during the 1600s. Using details of the events, Neill imagines the type of place Pendle could have been and the types of characters these 'witches' were. written in a way that makes witchcraft seem very possible, the book was both chilling and gripping. Through the eyes of a young woman visiting Pendle, I got a strong sense of v ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Kerry rated it it was amazing
what is not to love about this book?
its romantic, its mysterious its written in beautiful old English, I spent three wonderful days reading it.
Elizabeth Andrews
Apr 17, 2014 Elizabeth Andrews rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this, wasn't as witchy as I expected but you get a real feel of the time and area through his writing.
Annee Book
Dec 31, 2014 Annee Book rated it it was amazing
not the most expertly written. but it claws you in and takes you with it
Oct 31, 2015 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good reading for Halloween!
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I Read Therefore ...: Spooky October Read - Mist Over Pendle 25 14 Oct 28, 2013 01:36AM  
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