The Last Witchfinder
Jennet Stearne's father hangs witches for a living in Restoration England. But when she witnesses the unjust and horrifying execution of her beloved aunt Isobel, the precocious child decides to make it her life's mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. Armed with little save the power of reason, and determined to see justice prevail, Jennet hurls herself i...more
the dialogue is stilted (its so obvious that the author found a book about 17th century slang and then used those words as many times as possible...bleh) and the plot bends credulity past its breaking point several times over. While the names and dates might be historically accurate, the characters motivations and personalities are totally anachronistic, like when the minister scolds isobel for keeping servants(!). i should have ...more
It's tempting to draw comparisons to Vonnegut and Tom Robbins (Jitte ...more
i started reading this book last night and i'm already having trouble with it...not because i don't like it, it's actually really good and i'm really enjoying the premise...the story is being told from the point of view of isaac newton's 'principia mathematica'...a book writing a book...morrow goes on very intriguingly about how, in essence, all books are written by other books, so this is really not all that remarkable an achi ...more
I cannot think of a single thing that this book lack ...more
Recommended by AuntiePam - also fan of author
Jennet Stearne, the main character of the novel, is a stubborn, inquisitive natural philosopher - not the most appropriate profession for a woman in the early 1700's. A loss early in her life makes her determined to disprove witchcraft with science in order to save lives.
Her adventures take her from England to America, from Native American bride to mistress of a future Founding Father, while matching wits with the likes of Sir Isaac Newton ...more
*The Last Witchfinder* is one of the best historical fiction novels that I've read in recent years.
Jennet Stearne is furious because her father, the Witchfinder General Walter Sterne, had no choice to investigate the accusations that her aunt, Isobel Mowbray, educated and wise, is a witch. With plenty of witnesses, the Witchfinder has no choice but to burn her at the stake. This act has disgraced the Witchfinder and the Sterne family has no choice but to mov ...more
On the whole it reminded me of Moll Flanders...a picaresque novel. While this is a long tradition for novels and writers to follow, the original picaresque novels followed rogues and other sundry sorts of villains/troublemakers. That's what made them interesting. In this case the novel suffers because the main charact ...more
This book was too wordy. (I had to sit with a dictionary for some of the words.) The initial premise was good, and I did wonder how it all was to turn out...
HOWEVER, by the 230th page (of 400 +) I found Jennet's, the main character, life so preposterous, I just couldn't read any more. Jennet was born the child of one of England's last "witchfinders." Mom died in the birth of her brother. She educated each summer with a science loving Aunt ...more
The peculiar narrative device employed here is that the novel is narrated by a book - Newton's treatise the Principia Mathematica. The Principia, in turn, tells the story of Jennet Stearne, daughter of a late-seventeenth century witchfinder. Jennet's father condemns Jennet's beloved a ...more
Morrow's skillful blend of historical fact with his fiction allows me to enjoy the characters and the flow of the story without feeling the need to grab my red pen and history books. (Though I did have a few occasions for a good wince.)
I also enjoyed th ...more
From a writer who has been lauded as "an original -- stylistically ingenious, savagely funny, always unpre-dictable" (Philadelphia Inquirer) and "unerring" (San Diego Union-Tribune), who has been compared to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Updike,
Well let me tell you - ugh. I am not sure what the quality of this writer's other books are. I am also not sure how I slugged through this book. He took an interesting concept and stretched it to its limit with unbelievable an ...more
Period pieces have to be richly drawn for me to care, and this one sucked me right in, ranging from introspective to the edge of silly. To note: pirates, witches, freak shows, Robert Hooke, democracy, theology, kidnapping, shipwrecks, Isaac Newton, slavery, electricity, reason vs. fanaticism, a sex guide and more than I could list here.
It's worth it to know as lit ...more
This story was all over the place, but I li ...more
And then there was the stupid...changeover. I have no other way to describe it. One second you are reading normally (well...) the next... I'm assuming the author had put in a clever demon story in those bits but none of it made any sense!
I don't even want to give it half a ...more
The weirdest thing about this book is that the narrator is another book that likes to interrupt the main story now and again to give his two cents on the on-going battle between reason (science) and superstition (religion). The narrator is ...more
|Life story of the woman who fought to abolish witchfinding in the 1700s||2||20||Nov 13, 2008 05:06PM|