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The Daylight Gate

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  5,249 ratings  ·  884 reviews
Good Friday, 1612. Pendle Hill, Lancashire.

A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by local magistrate, Roger Nowell. Is this a witches' Sabbat?

Two notorious Lancashire witches are already in Lancaster Castle waiting trial. Why is the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter defending them? And why is she among the group of thirteen on Pendle Hill?

Elsewhere, a s
Hardcover, 194 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by Hammer
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Average rating 3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,249 ratings  ·  884 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
*Disclaimer- As always, any comments that have to do with religion and the like, will receive the punishment of bygone times. That is, condemned to be hung by the neck, until they are dead…(Translation for the uninformed- deleted and blocked)*

‘’Stand on the flat top of Pendle Hill and you can see everything of the county of Lancashire. Some say you can see other things too. This is a haunted place. The living and the dead come together on the hill.’’

Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

"Stand on the flat top of Pendle Hill and you can see everything of the county of Lancashire, and some say you can see other things too. This is a haunted place. The living and the dead come together on the hill."

We have just over a week to go before the celebration of Halloween or All Hallows Eve. If you, like me, relish grabbing an eerie selection from the bookshelf at this time of year, then put this one on your list, pronto! If you haven’t gotten around to choosing one yet, then thi
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 2012 on the 400 year anniversary of the Lancaster Witch Trials of 1612, The Daylight Gate is an imagining of the events that lead up to the hangings. Gruesome in its description and spare and lyrical in its writing, The Daylight Gate is akin to poetry. It's like a fevered dream, evocative and eerie, it's feel for the crudeness and coarseness of the era masterful.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pansexual deities and curious earthlings
Recommended to Jaidee by: Women, wimmin and godesses
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "sublime, exquisite, breath-taking" stars !!!

8th Favorite Read of 2018 Award

Jaidee can be a stubborn bastard. Since my early twenties galpals have been urging me to read Winterson. "Jaidee- she writes the way you think and feel" one particularly earnest lipstick lesbian friend told me. I finally took the plunge and boy o boy or should I say girl o girl I have found a new favorite author.

This is a short novel that was published in 2012 and is a very loosely based historical fiction on the La
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: @funkymad in Twitter
Shelves: read2016, spooktober
During the Lancashire Witches trials of 1612, several women were charged with witchcraft. Jeanette Winterson takes these stories and imagines a new version. For once, she is not questioning their witchiness, which I thought made for a far better novel. There are some interesting notes made between Catholicism and Satanism, as far as people being put to death for either (and possibly intentionally misunderstanding one for the other)... King James was quite the anti-Catholic, you see.

Witchery pop
This was Lancashire. This was Pendle. This was witch country.”

!!trigger warnings at the bottom of the review!!

Okay, first of all, I'll never look at witches the same way ever again.
And second, I'll never look at witches the same way ever again.
The Daylight Gate is the perfect gothic tale that will have your skin crawl with its content and dark atmospere.
I must admit it took me a little to get into it, but it was mostly about the writing. In the first half of the book I found it a tad too d
Nat K
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5★s for me.

”All the history, all the facts, what were they but chances.”

”The North is the dark place.”

I was intrigued by this book as I kept seeing so many reviews for it on GR. So of course I had to read it too.

This was a slow burn for me. The further I got into the story, the more I felt involved in it, horrified by what was unfolding.

”Witchery popery popery witchery.”

”Take heed of what you are told. Take heed what you tell.”

There is quite a menacing undertone, a layer of darkness which apt
Jan 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
Living near Pendle and having a keen interest in the history of the witch trials, I was very excited to hear about this book. I thought that a well respected writer would do a good job of re-telling the story, but I was to be very disappointed. To say that the book is based on fact is utterly misleading. The names used are the names of real people, and yes, the places are too, but that's where any research into the subject matter ends. On the 400th anniversary of the trial, there has been a call ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Madwomen leaping with wild eyes, calm compelling Alice Nutter, magic, familiars, spells, elixirs, Shakespeare and that nasty King Jimmy with his henchmen. Seek mystery and reclaim your own wise vision with this story. Be on the lookout for those missing the third finger of their left hand.
Sam Quixote
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was ok

Alice Nutter is a witch but one of the good ones who uses her powers to keep her looking young and letting the poor live on her land for free. But it turns out one of the poor wretches living on her land is one of the bad witches - who also used to be Alice’s girlfriend! But she’s all old and wrinkly because The Devil chose Alice instead of her. This might seem important but it’s a plot point that’s never really built upon so it means absolutely nothing. I mean, is youthfulness purely th
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Konstantin by: Amalia Gavea
3.5 The last quarter or so was the worst part in my opinion. It was going to be a solid four until the author screwed it all up. It was as though she didn't know how to end it so she decided to add third-grade fantasy movie elements and turn subtle magical realism into heavy fantasy.

The writing was simple though decent. I liked some of the repeated phrases and people, buildings and events really came alive for me. Descriptions weren't flowery but just vivid enough to give a strong sense of time
Craig Laurance
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Daylight Gate exists at a crossroads, between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, and prose and poetry. Jeanette Winterson uses History to spin a mediation on persecution, feminism, polyamory, power, religion and abuse.

The history she uses this time is that of the Pendle witch trials in the 1600s of Britain. A group of women and men were hanged for witchcraft, and using everything from flights of fantasy to ribald humor to Grand Guignol horror, Winterson tells their tales. The main prota
Alex Hammond
Sep 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Jeanette Winterson is one of my favourite authors. However, The Daylight Gate felt a little thin. Yes, it is a novella, so it's intended to be a shorter work, but it felt stretched out. The Passion, one of her earlier novellas, which this piece is in some ways reminiscent of being also supernaturally themed, felt more like a larger work bulging against its length. The Daylight Gate feels at times like the opposite, that it should do more, go further.

Winterson has the profound ability to constru
TRIGGER WARNING, details below beneath the "spoiler" tag.

Historical fiction can be hit or miss, depending upon one's interest in the given subject and the author's abilities and execution. For those who are fascinated by witchcraft and/or the waning of Queen Elizabeth's influences on England (Gunpowder Plot, anyone?) this is a quick and enjoyable read.

(view spoiler)
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Don't be fooled, people- this is a horror story. And I mean that as praise.

The Daylight Gate is a snapshot of the events leading up to the famous trial of the Pendle witches. It's not a straight history, (view spoiler) but Winterson has obviously done her research.

I've not read Winterson before now, so had no expectations of her writing. In this book I was struck by the prose. She writes very lean, but still manages to evok
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, magical
Neat, sparse prose in a very short book about the Pendle witch trials, by a woman. This is unusual in itself, as men seem to be the ones generally fascinated by the horrific persecution of poverty-stricken women in recently excommunicated England.

The handling of the characters is delicate and complex - on the one hand, they are desperately pitiable, filthy and poor with no possible hope of relief. On the other, they are nasty, vicious women (and a young man) who have no compassion for Alice Nut
Sally Whitehead
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Incredibly disappointing. I’m a fan of Winterson, and I am very interested in the Pendle Witch where does “The Daylight Gate” go SO wrong?

Well, if I hadn’t been told who had written it I would never have guessed it was Jeanette Winterson as I don’t associate her with such a simplistic style. I wondered at times if I was reading a children’s book, but some of the content is far too graphic, and besides I’ve read Winterson’s “Tanglewreck” and it’s clever and really well written. The di
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, 2018

A surprisingly good Spooktober buddy read with this very pretty pigeon. 💚

This was the only Winterson book I hadn't read because I am a bit of a scaredy cat but I'm so glad I finally did. I had heard of Alice Nutter before but I'm really glad this was my first proper introduction to her story. True to style, The Daylight Gate was magically atmospheric and engaging, especially the second half of the book which is what really launched it into 4 star status for me. I was a little
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A strange and weirdly entertaining book (really a short story) based on the Pendle witch trials in Lancashire, England in the early 1600's.

Winterson has penned a disturbingly graphic and atmospheric story that manages to be both modern in its approach and yet evoke the bleak, almost otherworldly nature of the early 17th century.

Another book in a similar vein that comes close to my take-away feeling for The Daylight Gate is A Mirror For Witches, which was likewise an unsettling, compelling read.

Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
In the past years, Hammer Film Studios have attempted to return to the glories of old with a number of new horror movies, including the atmospheric film version of Susan Hill’s The Woman in White. Parallelly, Hammer has diversified into the publishing business, commissioning not just film tie-ins but also new horror stories by established authors. These have included fine ghostly tales by Helen Dunmore and Sophie Hannah, but the most self-consciously “literary” contribution is probably Jeanette ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeanette Winterson’s novels never fail to astound me. Whilst I have most of her oeuvre yet to read, I have very much enjoyed every book of hers which I have read to date, from the heartbreakingly sad Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and the quirky The Passion, to her distinct, unique and imaginative retelling of the story of Atlas and Heracles, Weight. I wanted, therefore, to read The Daylight Gate ever since I first learnt of its publication, and was thrilled when I received a beautiful copy from ...more
The Daylight Gate is a novella about the Pendle witch trials, written by Jeanette Winterson for the Hammer publishing imprint. Set in 1612, it follows the events that unfold over a short period of time as a group of supposed witches congregates, a wealthy woman is accused of being one of them, and a Catholic dissident tries to re-enter the country. The historical narrative is woven with elements of magical realism - I wouldn't quite call it fantasy, because at times it is so realistic that it's ...more
Alan Baxter
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was a dichotomy. Parts of it I really enjoyed, but the story, while based on true events, was too light on intrigue and the characters never really shone for me. The most developed character was the main character of Alice Nutter, but I had real trouble buying anything I was told about her. So much about her seemed artificial, with no basis or real explanation.

On the other hand, aspects of the story were really gripping and engaging. This would normally be a good thing, but there's a
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-2015
Book gifted by The Reading Room for review

The Daylight Gate is a fictional tale telling of the factual events that occurred surrounding the Pendle Witches. This tale focuses on the famous historical figure of Alice Nutter, who was said by accounts to be a wealthy woman who owned land which she rented out to the less fortunate who were also accused of witchcraft and subsequently hung at the gallows. In doing a bit of research into this story, there are elements of the truth woven in with all peop
Debbie Robson
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I remember trying to read an early Winterson novel and feeling very lost, as if I was missing a faculty that would allow me to understand the words on the page. It was probably a case of reader inexperience because I encountered no such problem reading The Daylight Gate.
Winterson has brought these dark times of the Lancashire witch trials to life without an anachronism in sight. The landscape is particularly grim, the language believable and the construction makes the most of what is known to ha
Aric Cushing

The fact that Winterson can evince so much beauty amidst such depravity is a testament to her writing abilities. The story revolves around the witch trial of 1604.
Shakespeare appears as a secondary character, graves are dug up, the devil beckons, and luckily, the ending isn't a tiresome depiction of witch burnings. The best book I've ever read about witches, set against a backdrop of historical accuracy.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. For the most part it was pretty brutal and ugly, which is perhaps just the truth about a lot of life in England under the rule of King James I. Despite the interesting subject (the events leading up to real witch trials and execution in 1612) and Winterson's trademark beautiful spare writing, it never really grabbed me. I liked that Shakespeare had a cameo and that the main character was a real witch and queer though.

Content warning for rape, child abuse, ince
Stunning. Gripping horror. I read the book in one night. Winters on tells a story based on the experience of men and women accused of witchcraft during the Trial of Lancashire Witches, 1612. I am far more familiar the American experience, yet many of the elements remain the same:
Women on the margins of society who are not under the protection of a man or under the protection of a respected man, are more likely to be accused. Think herbalists, midwives.
Women who have property and no man for prote
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
We all sort of know that witch hunts were organized against the marginalized and the vulnerable, but Winterson wants nothing to do with the romanticized witch. Her witches are often pitiful or even repulsive: filthy, selfish, suffering of physical and mental disorders, doing despicable things to their kin. And yet. There's love and compassion. And I found myself caring for them together with Alice Nutter.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Really thought this would be right up my street, as I'm fascinated by tales of the Pendle witches, but I found myself utterly bored. The writing style felt flat for me and I don't care if everyone in it dies. Could not maintain the will to finish.
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Novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985. She graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assi ...more

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