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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  13 reviews
‘How will you protect her from lies? From superstition? How will you protect her when your father comes calling, with threats and accusations? When a mob comes to our door?’
In a time when death is common, life is cheap and superstition rife, anyone can find their world torn apart by gossip and accusations. Can one lonely girl find the love and companionship she craves? Or
ebook, 126 pages
Published February 27th 2014
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  25 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Terry Tyler
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
WHY haven't I read this before? It's the novelette (I think) length prequel to the novel The Black Hours, which I enjoyed very much; both can be read as stand alones. Anyway, it's great! I loved it, and couldn't resist going on to read the start of The Black Hours again, afterwards.

Lizzie and her mother, Maggie, eke out a meagre existence in their village, not far away from London, in the 17th century. Maggie is a healer; some say she is a witch ~ especially the Pendles, who are the most importa
Cathy Ryan
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blackwater is the prequel to The Black Hours, in which Alice Pendle and her grandmother, Maggie, fall foul of the self-styled Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. Blackwater chronicles events leading up to Alice’s birth.

Lizzie and her mother, Maggie are living quietly in a little cottage in Eversley after years of moving around, trying to avoid the suspicion which all too often falls on healers like themselves. Helping people reaps no rewards if something untoward happens in the village. Gratit
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie Prentice lives in a time when being a healer was a hazardous occupation. On the one hand the women from the village would be grateful for help with childbearing and herbal medicines for their families but, on the other, the first sign of strange behaviour in the village or crops failing and the same women would soon point the finger at the women who saved their child.

Lizzie and her mother Maggie have spent their lives on the move. Earning their living by helping the sick and needy they al
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life of a healer is a precarious one: always on the move, shunned by their communities, and accused of witchery the moment illness strikes. In a time when superstition is widespread, where death is commonplace, and happy-ever-after’s almost impossible to find, Lizzie Prentice longs for the love and protection of Samuel Pendle. But this comes at a price, one that will tear his family apart and bring the wrath of the local townsfolk crashing down upon them all.

Blackwater, by Alison Williams, i
Bev Spicer
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I must say that I really enjoyed this novella, sitting in my garden on a sunny afternoon. Lizzie's story brought to mind the trials of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, although the period is not the same. In Blackwater, there is no Alex D'Urberville, but we are quickly introduced to the menacing figure of Matthew Hopkins, who has complex feelings towards Lizzie and her soul mate, Samuel (who is an absolute dish!).

Lizzie and her mother, Maggie (who is a beautifully-drawn character), struggle to make a
Jonathan Rowe
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
'The Black Hours' was Alison Williams' debut novel which narrated the sufferings of Alice Pendle, a 17th century healer and midwife, at the hands of Matthew Hopkins, the self-styled Witchfinder General. The character of Alice was engagingly drawn and readers were interested in the mystery surrounding her mother Lizzie and father Samuel. Alison Williams has written this novella as a prequel to 'The Black Hours' and it explores Lizzie and Maggie's life as 'cunning women' who heal the sick with her ...more
Rosie Amber
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Blackwater is a prequel to The Black Hours and is a short novella telling the story of Alice Pendle's mother and father. We first meet Lizzie, Alice's mother in Eversley in Hampshire where she lives with her mother Maggie. They are medicine women or "Cunning women" as they are known, who use herbs to heal the sick.

Often feared because of their ways, they have already moved five or six times to avoid prosecution from those who would call them witches. This is the tale of how Lizzie and Samuel Pen
Delia Sandford
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book now reading the follow up one
Elizabeth Lloyd
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blackwater is the prequel to The Black Hours. Set in the mid-17th century this short novel is a complete story about Lizzie Prentice and her mother Maggie, healers or “cunning women” whose skills were sometimes welcome but could easily cause them to be accused of witchcraft. Lizzie is threatened by Daniel, a boy from the village who had harmed her when they were young, but he is merely a symptom of the superstition and prejudice surrounding the women. Although she is protected by kindly Samuel P ...more
Phyllis H. Pajka
A good book but I wish I had read it before I read the one after it. The story of witches always amazes me and how easily someone can be accused and actually have no way to defend themselves. Instead of being thankful for the remedies that these ladies provided for ailments, neighbors seem to turn on them instantly. I know the times were very different but believing what some of the women are accused of makes me laugh. I enjoyed the book though. It's not very long so give it a try.
Wendy Unsworth
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn’t realised this book was a prequel when I began to read it but, no matter, it is a very interesting introduction to the characters of the novel, The Black Hours and now I am glad I have read it first.

Maggie and her daughter, Lizzie live in England back in the time when superstition and belief in witches was rife. ‘Healers’ or ‘cunning women’ were relied on in their villages for herbal cures and for assistance in the very dangerous process of childbirth, but at the same time they were look
Becky Wright
Blackwater is the prequel to The Black Hours by Alison Williams. Set around the time of English Civil War, witch hunting and the infamous Witchfinder General (although we don't actually come across him in this book, it sets you up for the next one). I adore historic fiction and this one is close to home, literally, on my home turf. I've always been fascinated by the stories and my local history. So, I think I wanted to love this book more than I actually did. Now, saying that the author Alison W ...more
This started well with the description of 3 village women being hanged as witches and the rumours and finger pointing at Lizzie and her mother. Then it turned into a love story with very little plot which mostly ignored any of the preceding story. Then we had a bit of drama and dramatic situation almost identical to the story told about Lizzie's father's death. After escaping whilst believed dead Maggie, Lizzie and Samuel settle in a village near to the woman who nursed and then trained Maggie a ...more
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I have been writing ever since I can remember – scribbling down and (badly) illustrating stories in exercise books whenever I wasn’t actually reading (which was most of the time when I was awake). I trained as a journalist and, after getting married and having two children, I worked in education and as a part-time freelance writer until deciding to bite the bullet and do what I have always wanted ...more

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