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Nell oder Die Gabe der Mainacht

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  2,012 Ratings  ·  226 Reviews
“Powers of the air, be here now. So mote it be.”

Conceived on May Morning, Nell is claimed by the piskies and faeries as a merrybegot, one of their own. She is a wild child: herb gatherer and healer, spell-weaver and midwife . . . and, some say, a witch.

Grace is everything Nell is not. She is the Puritan minister’s daughter: beautiful and refined, innocent and sweet-natured
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 30th 2006 by Dtv (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lizzie
Oct 28, 2008 Lizzie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sally
Phew, good stuff! I do so enjoy Julie Hearn - it's funny though that this was the first book of hers I ever bought, yet much the last to be read. The size (large hardcover) and plain cover (lack of dustjacket) did possibly have something to do with that; I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to books' looks.

(view spoiler)
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Angie
Interesting look at the 17th century witch trials in England. The book does a good job of showing how hysteria can grow and mob mentality can make otherwise sane people turn against those they have known their entire lives. Nell and her grandmother have served and protected the community their entire lives and at the first sign of trouble they are turned upon.

Hearn does a good job of weaving historical persons and events into the storyline - Charles II and Matthew Hopkins the witch hunter. The E
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Steph Su
Apr 21, 2009 Steph Su rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is enthralling and enchanting, hard to put down once you start. In the English country in the seventeenth century, Nell lives with her wisewoman grandmother, the town herbalist, midwife, and spellbringer. Nell is a Merrybegot, a child sacred to nature, born on May Morning. She likes to frolic and hates restraint, which the new minister has brought down upon the town.

The minister’s eldest daughter, Grace Madden, is a beautiful, proud, conniving girl. After a secret affair with the black
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Jamie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mara
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I'm not a huge fan of the cover, nor do I hate it. It's just. . . .there. Neither offending nor delighting.

Characters: Nell is spunky and smart and doesn't put up with any sort of nonsense. Not from the people she cares about, her patients, or anyone who means her ill in the village. She was awesome. Grace was conniving, horrid girl; very easy to dislike. But I will give her props for one thing (though her later actions negated my very brief moment of sympathy): she didn'
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Michael
Review from Badelynge
It is Spring 1645 and the first English Civil War is drawing to its inevitable close. King Charles I holds onto his freedom by a thread with his loyalist supporters holding only small pockets of the Midlands & North Wales with his son (Charles II to be) hiding out in the West Country (Cornwall). Matthew Hopkins, self-styled Witch-finder General plies his lucrative and deadly business stirring the countryside to find and nail any suspected of using the Dark Arts. Against
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Storyheart
Jan 14, 2015 Storyheart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, magical-reads
This is the kind of YA novel that makes an adult regret ever having grown up: full of nature and mystery, piskies and faeries, magic and longing and a feisty heroine to serve as role model. If I were 12 instead of sedately middle-aged, I'd rate this story ten stars and give it a dozen hearts to boot.

The audio version was lusciously narrated by Sian Thomas, Rowena Cooper.
Sarah
Jun 26, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, but it was really good. It's set in the early 1600s, and it follows two girls: Nell, the Merrybegot child (conceived on May Morning) and granddaughter of the cunning woman (midwife, herb lady, etc), and Grace, the daughter of the minister. Grace finds herself with child after frolicking in the woods with the butcher's son, who refuses to stand by her. She goes to the cunning woman for something to take care of it, but she is not there. Nell ref ...more
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alan
Apr 30, 2009 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after reading The Heretics Daughter, an Historical Novel based on the Salem Witch Trials. I loved how this book based, mostly, in Old England intertwined people of Puritan beliefs, along with people who, while they go to church on Sunday, still dance around the Maypole and refer to baby's about to be born as "pot lids" so the piskies don't steal the newborn baby away. I also liked the fact that these piskies and fairy's do exists and play an important role in the book. Finally I ...more
Megan Shuster
Feb 02, 2016 Megan Shuster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually like books dated back in time like this one, but I liked this one exceptionally.
Kaitlyn
Jul 24, 2013 Kaitlyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First time I read this I said once was enough. But I read it again a year and a half later. I was right. Once was enough. I regret reading this book when I could have spent time on a book I enjoyed. This book is weird and abnormal. Thinking back on it however it seems to have a good story but in reality it doesn't. I walked away from that book with one quote that I took and made into my own "the heart is the kindness within. When all without are beyond reason and love." I do often think of that ...more
Amanda Lawson
Jun 17, 2014 Amanda Lawson is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Amanda Lawson
Ms. Robinson
Book Review : The Ministers Daughter
Do you like when books surprise you? Do mysteries interest you? If this interest you then reading this book would be a good suit for you. In this 1645 England fiction story, the main character; Grace takes on many challenges. Nell the village " cunning woman" granddaughter spent every waking moment learning the healer's trade. As she learned these trades she hope that in the future she'd take her grandmothers place. Nell independent c
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Alyssa
My feelings in sum: Meeehhhhhh.

I just didn't feel anything for any of these characters, aside from the rare sympathy for Nell (but really, she basically condemned herself by not using her brains and some caution, so). The timeline felt forced and slow. There were a lot of characters and though I logically know their stories were connected, their story lines didn't interweave as much as I wanted, and in fact often felt like they were competing. It went on about 70 pages longer than I expected (an
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Salsabrarian
Narrated by Heather O'Neill. From jacket copy: Conceived on May Morning, Nell is claimed by the piskies and faeries as a merrybegot, one of their own. She is a wild child: herb gatherer and healer, spell-weaver and midwife...and some say, a witch. Grace is everything Nell is not. She is the Puritan minister's daughter: beautiful and refined, innocent and sweet-natured...to those who think the know her. But she is hiding a secret--a secret that will bring everlasting shame to her family should it ...more
Brittney Johnson
This is the story of Nell who lives with her grandmother, the local cunning woman and healer, in a west country village in the seventeenth century. When one of the minister's daughters falls pregnant, she and her sister attempt to conceal it by accusing Nell of putting a curse on them. The witchfinder general, Matthew Hopkins, is called in and in an atmosphere of fear, the local villagers turn nasty and Nell's grandmother falls victim to their hatred. Nell is all alone, and in great danger.

Julie
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Gary
Dec 31, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in West England in 1645 during the English Civil War. Nell the granddaughter of a healer, is a merry begot, a child conceived on Beltane's Day in May. she learns the art of healing from her grandmother, frolics in the wilds and communes with the fairies and pixies.

Grace Madden, the daughter of dour and fanatical puritan minister accuses Nell of witchcraft, and frame her pretending to be possessed, and making up lies of Nell having cursed her. in order to hide her own indiscretion and is aide
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Jeni
Jun 11, 2014 Jeni rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book ticked so many of the boxes I look for when choosing a book. It was an historical story with witches and magic thrown into the mix and NO love triangles, in fact no real romance at all. Despite all that promise I just didn't enjoy this book's tale.

Flipping between confessions in 1692 and events from 1645 I found it hard to feel drawn to the events been told in the story. This is very much personal preference and I also have issues with books that change POVs. I craved more magic or mor
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Stephanie A.
Set in the 17th century and focusing on the conflict between Puritan religion and village healers being taken for witches, this is the first in a long line of fantastically engaging Julie Hearn historical novels. She makes any setting come alive with driving plot action and an absorbing protagonist.
Lori Clark-Erickson
Jan 23, 2016 Lori Clark-Erickson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: puritans, witches
Lexile: 1090
Historical Event/Time Period: English Civil War, 1640s
Liked: I liked the complexity of the plot and the various characters.
Disliked: I thought the ending was horrible.
Summary: 1CThe Minister 19s Daughter 1D takes place in a small Puritan village. Nell, the main character, uses materials from the earth, herbs, and other things to help people who are sick. She does this with her grandmother, and together they are the cunning women. The minister of the village has two daughters, Grace a
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travelmel
Nov 01, 2009 travelmel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a GREAT book. I give it 4.75 stars. I will do a review of it another time as my daughter is reading it now and I want to talk with her about it and then will do my review.

There were great themes to discuss in a book club or scholastic setting, IMO.
James
Jul 02, 2013 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enmjoyed this, wasnt sure i was going to at the beginning, but the stsory soon kicked in with lots of really interesting features and characters - and then i was totally hooked!
Tracy
Dec 25, 2015 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in a 1600s English village, this is a story of the clash between the "Old Ways" and Puritanism which resulted in the witch hunts of the time period.

Several of the other reviewers used the words disturbing, creepy, mysterious, cool.... All apply. The blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality, old and new, truth and fiction, good and evil is educational in and of itself.

The characters are drawn individually--and amazingly. Your heart will break at Nell's innocence, cringe at Grace's ma
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Miranda
Nell is a Merrybegot, a special person conceived on May Day. She has been raised by her grandmother, and taught the old ways to use herbs and other natural remedies to treat and heal. Patience and Grace are the daughters of the new strict minister. Their father has made new decrees about the behavior of his new parish, and few dare to step out of line.

When Grace ends up pregnant with a Merrybegot of her own, she approaches Nell for help. Nell, understanding the special nature of this unborn chi
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Jodi Mcfeaters
Jul 23, 2015 Jodi Mcfeaters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I usually enjoy anything written about the Salem witch trials and this book was no different. I love when authors aren't afraid to give their characters bad traits. I can't stand when authors make it seem like the characters are bad/evil but yet they stop short of having them commit any negative acts. In this book the two ministers daughters lie, sleep around, and act petty and evil, which is exactly how they should act in order to fullfill the needs of the story. I wish this bo ...more
Lonna Pierce
Jul 11, 2014 Lonna Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audio version of this tale of piskies,(Pixies?)fairies, and Puritans, reveals suspected witchcraft and wrong assumptions about midwives & "cunning women," or natural healers. In 17th century England, it turns out that the least Christian folk are the minister and his daughter, Grace. Nell, a merry-begot (conceived on Midsummer Day, and blessed by nature,)is about to lose her life for practicing healing as her granny taught her. An historical fiction novel with magical lyricism, Julie Hea ...more
Elizabeth
Dec 17, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I have already mentioned my interest in witches and wizards, it is only appropriate that I relate my very strong interest in the real historical "witches" of America - The Salem Witches. I love reading all kinds of material on the Salem Witch Trial: non-fiction, fiction, articles, plays, etc. The Minister's Daughter (though it is placed in seventeenth century England)does not disappoint. It is more of a fiction that actually historically and factually based. It adds a bit of fantasy to the eq ...more
Trish
"The Minister's Daughter" is another story of how the Salem Witch Trials happened.
It's about a teenage girl Nell who lives in a village and is learning how to be a midwife/healer from her grandmother who is the “cunning woman" in the village (that’s what the people call her)
Her grandma has helped the people in the village and the Faries/creatures in the village for a long time but now she’s old and kinda losing her mind and Nell has to help her and will soon take over for her.
Nell meets this gi
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Logan
First impressions: The book introduces us to two different perspectives from the start: one is the young Nell, granddaughter to a local healer, in 1645 England; the other is Patience, younger sister to Grace, daughter of the town minister, who writes her own account of the events from 1692 Salem. I liked this alternating style, which added a level of deception and spite to the unfolding accusations of witchcraft.

I was also immediately taken with the voices of the girl Nell and the woman Patienc
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