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Of Sorrow and Such

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Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda's Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word—Gideon has been good to them, and it's always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.

When a foolish young shapeshifter goes against the wishes of her pack, and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end.

Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?

160 pages, ebook

First published October 13, 2015

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About the author

Angela Slatter

161 books556 followers
Angela Slatter is the author of the urban fantasy novels Vigil (2016) and Corpselight (2017), as well as eight short story collections, including The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, and A Feast of Sorrows: Stories. She has won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, a Ditmar, and six Aurealis Awards.

Angela’s short stories have appeared in Australian, UK and US Best Of anthologies such The Mammoth Book of New Horror, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, The Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, and The Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction. Her work has been translated into Bulgarian, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, and Romanian. Victoria Madden of Sweet Potato Films (The Kettering Incident) has optioned the film rights to one of her short stories.

She has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop 2006, and in 2013 she was awarded one of the inaugural Queensland Writers Fellowships. In 2016 Angela was the Established Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in Perth.

Her novellas, Of Sorrow and Such (from Tor.com), and Ripper (in the Stephen Jones anthology Horrorology, from Jo Fletcher Books) were released in October 2015.

The third novel in the Verity Fassbinder series, Restoration, will be released in 2018 by Jo Fletcher Books (Hachette International). She is represented by Ian Drury of the literary agency Sheil Land for her long fiction, by Lucy Fawcett of Sheil Land for film rights, and by Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services for illustrated storybooks.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 272 reviews
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews1,016 followers
March 17, 2016
WHY haven't I known about Angela Slatter till now?

I feel like the presentation of this book is aiming to attract fans of Patricia McKillip; and if so, it worked on me, at least. I wouldn't argue with that decision, but while this story contains the magical mix of fairytale and realism that McKillip's work does, this story is quite a bit darker, in some ways.

Mistress Gideon is a witch, in a rural, medieval-esque world that punishes magic users with death. She's hidden her original identity and (a bit typically), is making her living as a village healer - tolerated by her community for her usefulness. However, Gideon's secret is not the only one in the town, and although she's very much not looking for trouble, trouble is bound to come her way.

The characterization here is wonderful: Slatter succeeds brilliantly in making her people jump off the pages and into our hearts - even though they're not at all 'nice.' Indeed, many of them are selfish, petty, short-sighted, and display many of the most unfortunate qualities of humanity. Gideon herself is pragmatic to the point of ruthlessness, and although we sympathize with her, I couldn't help understanding just why some communities might not want her or those like her around.

After finishing this, I immediately went out and made a request for another of Slatter's books through interlibrary loan. This is my very favorite sort of story.

Also, I want to give a nod to the cover artists, Anna & Elena Balbusso. Lovely work! http://www.balbusso.com/index.php?opt...

Many thanks to NetGalley and Tor for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.


March 2016: Nominated for Hugo.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,964 followers
April 19, 2019
I've been a big fan of Angela Slatter ever since reading Sourdough and Other Stories for the lyrical and gorgeous writing.

Magic, shapeshifting, and truly magical worldbuilding surrounds these short stories and the others from the other collections.

I cannot stress enough how much I love her writing. Evocative, triple-layered line-item goodies, wry, loving, hateful, despairing, vengeful, and deep.

Every character is real in the way only the very best writers can make them. There's no bashing of sexes. It's all equal mixes of all the best and worst that humanity has to offer in every single character even though the main focus is on witches and witch-hunters.

There's no real way to describe how good these are except by experience. They're haunting and on the same level, at least to me, with Cat Valente's writing.

So deeply layered, simple in execution, and vast in implication. :) Total recommendation.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,924 reviews3,403 followers
April 19, 2019

Much like Valente's stories, I came by Slatter's by coincidence and recommendation. Yes, I love stories about witches - the ones about great magic spells as much as ones about women who simply know how to heal with plants and are hunted for it. The ones I love most fall somewhere in between, like this one.

We meet Patience Gideon, a witch. She can use all sorts of herbs for abortions, for healing, for killing, ... and mixes those herbs for things that need actual magic. There are many witches in this world, some of them even shapeshifters. Some pass by Patience's cottage and stay a few days to be safe. Always in exchange for knowledge.
The village where she lives knows at least of some of her skills and while they are all "good Christians" (except for the other witches living there secretly), they don't move against her.
But when a young shapeshifter is stupid enough to get caught, priests and other "good people" call for blood.
Hangings, burnings, beatings, rape ... witches or women unable to give their husbands what they want ... there are many reasons for these women to be mistreated.

I started reading about actual witch hunts and trials because I was fascinated of the blend between superstition, advanced (for the standards back then) medicine, and tales of independent women refusing to bow to convention. Many preferred to die standing than live kneeling and I get it.
This book represents just such women without vilifying all men. There is no generalization here. Some women (witches even) are stupid or treacherous or egocentric, some men are rapists and worse, other women feel a certain sisterhood or just want to get by and other men are sweet and honest. Most are several things at once. Just like real people.

Seeing the women here being afraid but also smart and creative in getting by, living their day-to-day lives, protecting themselves, spiced with the gift some of them have; seeing the betrayal but also the sisterhood, practically feeling the coziness of Patience's kitchen, smelling the flowers in the garden and the herbs in the forest - not every author can breathe life into their tales in such a way.

The author's writing style is beautiful in an unassuming way, descriptive and vivid. The people, as I said, are all "real" and tragic figures or inspiring characters. The audiobook's narration perfectly matches the humble writing style. This has therefore definitely not been the last story by this author I've read and I need to get my hands on the paperback edition.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
March 21, 2016
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/03/20/n...

This is the first time I’ve read Angela Slatter, and now she’s gained herself another fan. Of Sorrow and Such is probably my favorite Tor.com novella of the ones I’ve read so far, a compact little tale that packs no small amount of emotional punch in spite of its length.

In a small fictional village in a world reminiscent of Europe in the Middle Ages lives a witch called Mistress Patience Gideon. Ostensibly, she’s just a local healer eking out a simple yet comfortable life taking care of the village’s sick and injured, but in truth Patience possesses power magic that she must keep hidden lest her secrets are discovered by the church and she is burned at the stake.

On the surface, this story might strike a familiar chord, but in time a rich complexity emerges. Of Sorrow and Such is beautifully told, with an attention to detail that often get overlooked in shorter works. I was really impressed with the depth of feeling and the intense atmosphere that came through in Slatter’s simple but elegant writing, which has this way of stripping away all the chaff to get to the raw core of what really matters. As a result, there’s almost no slowing down in Patience Gideon’s tale. We have plenty of suspense, though perhaps not in a traditional sense; rather, Slatter’s plotting is just so tight that almost every scene is charged with a strong feeling of involvement and agency.

That said, there’s also just the right amount of emotion to give this story a life of its own. I adored its themes of love and hatred, loyalty and betrayal, and of the deep yearning for things that can destroy you. It’s about the sacrificing something important to you for a cause greater for yourself, and it’s about the courage and the strength of a woman who will not be cowed. The characters in this novella are vividly drawn, showing the multi-faceted nature of both protagonists and villains. Patience feels genuine to the reader, the kind of person who is capable of great kindness, but within her also lies a terrible wrath one would do well not to underestimate.

This is just overall a wonderful story featuring great female characters and some very interesting relationships between them. Throw in Slatter’s delectable writing and a setting permeated with atmosphere and magic, and you have yourself a winner in your hands. I’m really pleased with how well it all came together. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,260 reviews222 followers
October 28, 2015
The story of a witch in a parochial village set in the same world as the short story collections Sourdough and Other Stories and The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings. It was a bit of a surprise that Patience came from Bitterwood as I had thought this was a standalone. Very happy to hear otherwise as Slatter's Sourdough universe is a wonderful setting for these stories.

This one is a story of hidden magic, unthinking youth and the situations women find themselves in these type of communities. Both in terms of the sort of damage that stupidity can bring, and the sort of success that's able to be gained by smart application of information and talent. There's also strong themes of mother/daughter relationships and friendship between women.

Brilliant. Slatter is fast becoming an automatic must-read for me, and now I need to bump Sourdough up on my to-read list.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,327 reviews435 followers
March 28, 2017
Mistress Patience, from the short story "Gallowberries" returns in this novella/long story.

This is what I like in my quick witch fiction, a tale that meanders through a moment but hands out bits of past and hints of future to form full characters in a relatively small space.

Quick summary: Patience Gideon, nee Sykes, has been the local healer at Edda's Meadow for awhile and those who suspect her of witchcraft ignore it because she's helpful. However, a self-involved shapeshifter is found-out by religious zealots and this threatens to expose a trail of magic-users in the tiny, superstitious town which, in turn, will lead to burnings. Of course. Thank goodness Mistress Gideon is a clever and resourceful woman.

Slatter's writing reminds me of Margo Lanagan's not because of similarity in stories but because of tone and the power women wield in both author's tales. I found this to be a lovely weaving about women and men, about small minds, about the strength of conviction and the weakness of following the herd, and about mothers and daughters.
Profile Image for Libros Prestados.
426 reviews786 followers
November 1, 2022
Se trata de una corta historia de brujas. No mujeres a quienes otros (usualmente la Iglesia, tanto Protestante como Católica) acusan de brujas, sino brujas de verdad, con poderes. Y sí, esto nos sirve para hablar del patriarcado, la utilización del miedo y la misoginia por parte de los poderosos para mantener su poder, la venganza o el amor en sus diferentes formas.

Me gustó (no siendo yo nada fan de historias de brujas) y está bien escrito y es inmersivo, pero creo que en algunos momentos el hecho de que haya dos personajes que vienen de otros relatos de la autora juega un poco en contra, porque es como si quisiera contar o llenar los huecos que esos otros relatos dejaron y al mismo tiempo contar una historia coherente para quienes no los leyeron y hay momentos en los que esta fricción se nota bastante. No mucho, no lo suficiente como para molestar la lectura, pero se nota.

Habrá gente que se moleste un poco, tal vez, por un mundo que está construido de manera funcional, es decir, como si fuera nuestro mundo, en una época indeterminada (a veces parece la Edad Media, otras veces la Era Moderna o Contemporánea) con mujeres que tienen poderes mágicos y poco más, pero la verdad es que a mí no me importó, porque al ser una novelette no es necesario una construcción de mundo muy elaborada y para mí es suficiente, recayendo todo el peso en unos personajes con suficiente carisma para ser recordados.

Lo dicho, es corto, es entretenido y gustará mucho a quienes les gusten las brujas. Y la portada tiene brilli-brilli, que es siempre un plus.
Profile Image for Mangrii.
866 reviews243 followers
February 15, 2023
De conjuros y otras penas es una pequeña historia compacta, sencilla y directa a la fibra familiar, pero que esconde una gran profundidad en cada uno de sus detalles. El Prado de Edda es un pueblo tranquilo, como cualquier otro, en el que las brujas se ven perseguidas de forma injusta. Aunque todos saben más o menos a lo que se dedica Paciencia Gideon, vive tranquila con su hija adolescente y su perro leal en una casa apartada a la que los vecinos acuden en busca de remedios y consejo. El día en que una joven irrumpe en su casa durante una aciaga noche, las mujeres con poderes mágicos que viven en la zona se ven en peligro por culpa de un pernicioso forastero.

La protagonista de esta novela corta es Paciencia, a quién ya conocimos en dos relatos de la antología Masa madre (Dilatando Mentes, 2021) de la propia Angela Slatter. El éxito de Slatter reside en disfrazar su historia de oscuro cuento de hadas -como ya hacía en dicha colección- con una caracterización maravillosa y una habilidad especial para hacer que los personajes de sus historias, aunque no sean agradables, consigan llegar rápido a nuestros corazones. Por ejemplo, es fácil simpatizar y estrechar vínculos con Paciencia Gideon, aunque es un personaje pragmático hasta la crueldad. Sin embargo, algo fantástico en los textos de Slatter es que no se casa con nadie.

No hay nada generalizado. Algunas mujeres son traicioneras y egocéntricas, algunos hombres son horribles y deleznables, pero también hay mujeres que son capaces de hermanarse y hombres que son buenos y honestos. Y la mayoría de las veces, como en el mundo real, sus personajes son varias cosas a la vez. Ni los buenos son tan buenos ni los malos son tan malos, como dice la frase popular. Es en ese brillo especial y grisáceo es donde Slatter consigue desmarcarse del resto, enfocarse en el papel de la mujer en las sociedades patriarcales y visibilizar el precio a pagar cuando se rompen los límites establecidos por la autoridad.

Más allá de esa brillante mezcla mágica de cuento de hadas y realismo parecidos al que se puede leer en Las bestias olvidadas de Eld de Patricia McKillip, la prosa de Slatter (bellamente traducida por Rebeca Cardeñoso) sabe poner cada palabra en su sitio para llegar al corazón lector en el momento adecuado. Todo esta puesto en el lugar indicado de la página, dejando asimilar al lector significados ocultos que apenas percibe y más adelante resultan clave en su lectura. Slatter es muy habilidosa con su escritura, de una prosa casi divina, que resulta fascinante en sus claroscuros y sabe imprimir una absoluta profundidad en muy pocas páginas. Algo que muchos apenas pueden arañar.

Los temas en De conjuros y otras penas son fuertes y reconocibles a simple vista, como el amor, el odio, la traición y la lealtad. De conjuros y otras penas es capaz de llevarnos por el camino del sacrificio a través de personajes vívidamente dibujados, mostrando su naturaleza y actitud. Sin embargo, por encima de todo, De conjuros y otras penas nos muestra el coraje y la fuerza de una mujer que no se deja intimidar y se sacrifica por una causa mayor, sin pensárselo dos veces. Por que Paciencia se siente a través de las páginas y en los primeros compases como un ser de luz, como una persona conmovedora, pero que dentro tiene una ira terrible que no dudará en usar para proteger lo que más quiere. Una ira que tira por la borda las promesas que ella misma se ha hecho. Pero es que las cosas que de verdad nos importan, pocas veces tienen algún tipo de límite.

Reseña en el blog: https://boywithletters.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Anya.
763 reviews168 followers
October 19, 2015
Will you forgive me if I just run around screaming amaze balls for a while? No? Fine! This writing is wonderful, I couldn't put it down. These characters are vicious and fantastic and won't take anyone's shit. Full story punch in a tight and addicting novella. Go get this and the entire backlist.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews243 followers
October 12, 2016

A story that has left me curious regarding the author's previous works, especially since Patience (the main character in this book) has already appeared in Angela Slatter's fantasy world.

Like other reviewers have mentioned, I also felt that someone was trying to appeal to Patricia A. Mckillip's fan _ look at this cover! _, however, if you're a Mckillip reader you know that only very rarely is the author able to tell a story in such a short amount of time: Mckillip takes her own sweet time with words, and scenery. And if I may enjoy that (from time to time), Slatter's writing couldn't be farther away from that. Were it an element, Slatter's writing would be Earth: practicable, down to earth, don't mess with me or you'll be sorry, earth. And I loved that.
I loved how practical and non bullshit Patience was. She's not perfect, she has made things that would make us run in the opposite direction, but she has done it, because she has placed herself (and her family) first and she makes no apologies for it.
What can I say?
It was refreshing to read a story about a powerful woman who doesn't spend her time mooning about guys.
And feelings.
Here's the beginning of Patience's story: http://www.angelaslatter.com/the-sour...
Profile Image for Kristina.
253 reviews73 followers
January 17, 2022
After reading A Murmuring of Bones earlier this year, I knew I wanted to read more of Angela Slatter's work. This witchy novella did not disappoint. It was smart and the writing was magical. I'm pretty sure I would like to be Mistress Gideon when I grow up. She was wise and a total badass! Slatter truly excels at writing complex morally gray characters. If you like witchy stories, this one is worth picking up.
Profile Image for Robyn.
827 reviews132 followers
October 28, 2015
I'm at the point where I think I'll read any and all TOR novella ever published, because they have been knocking it out of the park. This is another great story. The setting feels early modern Europe and Slatter really nails the feeling of a village in the grip of a witchcraft scare - only, it's not just a scare. Patience Gideon is a fabulous character, tough as old boots, and a witch that you should never cross. The rest of the village is populated with quickly drawn but very real characters, and the story is deeply satisfying. Can't wait to read more from Slatter.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
774 reviews91 followers
September 14, 2015
I received this as an ARC from the publisher.


Secondly, Margo Lanagan is right, as usual. This is a riveting read.

Mistress Gideon, the narrator, is not a nice person. She's not a good person, either; she works for and wants the best for those she loves, and for that reason is a fierce and loyal friend... but she's not nice. And she's not good. She is terrible to her enemies.

Mistress Gideon has enemies because she is a witch. Those of her neighbours in Edda's Meadow who know she is a witch don't say anything, because it's useful having a witch nearby. But when visitors come through with a bit too much curiosity... well. Curiosity can be unhealthy.

Slatter has written a - well, not a lovely story. There's a bit too much ruthlessness and hands cut off for 'lovely.' But it is a fierce story and one that demands to be finished; it's complex and surprising. Don't expect an entirely happy ending. It takes the old story of witches being found out and burnt at the stake and makes it a far more dynamic tale, exploring motivations and cause and consequence and collateral damage.

What I liked most, in the end, is that this is a story focussed on women. Women who love and who hate and who survive and who hang on through sheer bloody-mindedness. There are brutal witches and resentful teenagers and flighty wives and despairing lovers and bitter sisters and the guilty, the grim and the determined. Some of the women are a number of those things at the same time. These women are complex and challenging and very very real.

Of Sorrow and Such will be out in October. You know you want to read it.
Profile Image for John.
104 reviews
October 24, 2015
3.5 stars, rounded up because I know what's good for me when dealing with witches.
Profile Image for Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship.
1,121 reviews1,202 followers
July 29, 2021
An interesting and ultimately fairly intense novella centered on a witch-hunt—but differing from the norm in that these witches are real, and willing and able to band together to fight back. Like most fantasy novellas, it’s a very quick read—even shorter than the page count would have you believe—but a satisfying story for its length.

Patience Gideon is a 50-something witch doctor in a mid-sized town in what appears to be a medieval or Renaissance setting; it’s unclear from the book whether this is a secondary world or an imaginary place within our own. She’s a practical type who knows how to survive in a hostile world, but her non-magical adopted daughter and some other witches manage to get into trouble, dragging Patience in as well.

It’s an engaging story, with characters fairly well-developed for the length. And it did inspire some emotion in me, including empathy for how badly the witches were treated and some level of investment in the women’s relationships with each other. (It is a war-of-the-sexes type of witches book, despite some effort to include “good” men.) The writing is fine, and the world’s dangers come to life; we readers might not know everything about this setting, as is common in novellas, but we have a sense of what it feels like to live there. The story generally hit the notes it was reaching for, as far as I was concerned, with the ending appropriately bittersweet.

However, I did have a few issues. I am not a fan of the first-person POV except when it’s essential to the story being told, and here it isn’t; worse, the novella also uses the present tense. This made Patience’s actual age hard to process for me: I suspect there’s a reason first-person present-tense writing comes so naturally to YA writers, and it’s that there’s something inherently immature about that type of voice, flattening perspective while focusing only on the present moment—which is, after all, a very teenage way of viewing the world. (And it’s artificial, of course: how is the character supposed to be telling the story, and to whom, while it’s happening?)

Patience is also a ruthless character, for whom murder is the first resort when things go wrong. This isn’t necessarily a problem—I think we’re supposed to have reservations about her, even while appreciating that her instincts are well-suited to her surroundings—but I found it a bit hard to swallow when she strangles to death someone she knows, who is not physically threatening anyone, without first attempting any intermediate steps (such as threats) to dissuade the person from an unwise course of action. And much harder to swallow that someone who loves that person dearly would forgive Patience and even aid her, just a few days later. Reactions to this book definitely made me reflect on when female characters get labeled “unlikeable” and when they don’t, because it happens all the time to women who seem to me much less deserving of it than Patience, who seems to come out of this story with reader admiration intact.

The other thing that gives me pause is that the book plays into all the false stereotypes of historical witch trials, in which the accused were always women and always convicted, and in which witch-hunting was predominantly a medieval activity—none of which was true in real life. (Without dedicating a ton of time to researching this, I’ll point you to the Wikipedia article, which seems well-sourced and makes for interesting reading. In brief, witch-hunting was not particularly significant or officially sanctioned in Europe during the medieval period, but became a craze in the Renaissance, to slowly fade out during the Enlightenment. Gender ratios of accused witches varied wildly, and in some European countries they were mostly male. Most accused witches were not executed.) Sure, this isn’t necessarily our world, but it feels close enough that it feeds into misconceptions about our own history. Patience actually thinks, reflecting on a false accusation, “who’s ever heard of a woman accused of witchcraft being acquitted?” Interesting question—if you were in England, it happened about 75% of the time.

At any rate, overall this is a perfectly fine novella, worth a read if you’re into this sort of thing. It doesn’t make me want to run out and read the author’s other work, but I enjoyed my time with it.
Profile Image for Lisa.
346 reviews535 followers
July 25, 2016
Review from Tenacious Reader:

3.5/5 stars

Rarely am I so unsure about how I felt about a book. I’ve let a little time pass (about a week) since reading this to see if I could better sort my thoughts on it. But I am still finding it hard. Slatter’s prose is simple, to the point, and yet somehow not plain or boring. She creates a very realistic narration for a well spoken and intelligent character. I would say her words are precise in the most interesting of ways, with little to nothing extra.

Mistress Gideon is a witch, but she lives in a time and place where such things are not tolerated or talked about. If anyone knows or suspects her, they certainly don’t discuss it. She is doing good for the community, treating and healing their sick, carefully hiding her true witch-y nature. However, when a shapeshifter gets caught, the supernatural world can no longer be denied and of course, the story goes as it these tales of witches and supernatural beings often does. The fear of the unknown drives humans to immediately go on a literal witch hunt.

People known or suspected of supernatural abilities are rounded up and locked up. Instead of looking for understanding and answers in any sort of sane, humane or logical way, once again ignorance breeds hate and hence confinement and torture is the inquiry of choice. Through this, the story turns into an interesting examination of loyalty and features some wonderfully strong women characters.

When it comes down to it, I can’t say there’s much I didn’t like about this story other than perhaps my perceived slowness of the story at times. I really think that is just a stylistic trait of how the story is told, and I don’t think it is a fault of the book. Honestly, this book would not work as well if it were written any other way. I suspect it was just maybe not quite the right tone and pace for me at the time I chose to read it because I really can’t say anything else negative about it. And while I say I perceived slowness at times, keep in mind, this is also a novella, so it is a quick read.

Definitely recommend for anyone looking for a book that focuses on strong female characters that use something other physical strength to be strong. It also illustrates many social issues that are quite relevant in today’s world.

Profile Image for Margaret.
1,158 reviews60 followers
April 11, 2017
A tale of witches in a village reminiscent of the late 16th-17th century England or Scotland. With religious anti-witch movements becoming more popular, the local witch of Edda's Meadow Mistress Gideon has to be careful who she helps and how. When she and a witch she's harboring save a selfish local, her livelihood and life are threatened.

Apparently, the characters in this novella reappear in other stories by Angela Slatter, and I enjoyed this enough to try more by her. I love witch stories, and this one did not disappoint.
Profile Image for Javir11.
528 reviews161 followers
May 27, 2020

Novela corta que se deja leer, pero que en el fondo no tiene nada especial ni aporta nada nuevo. Una historia en las que las brujas se ven perseguidas de forma injusta, a pesar de ser buena gente. Vamos, un topicazo de cuidado.

A su favor, que la prosa es fácil de seguir, es cortito y tiene algunos momentos interesantes.

Profile Image for Arsénico.
622 reviews110 followers
January 1, 2023
«La confianza, queridas, es un cuchillo: puede herir con la misma facilidad que proteger si se le entrega a la persona equivocada. Ojalá pudiera decir que cada una de nosotras es fuerte y valiente, que no hay una sola cobarde en nuestras filas, pero no puedo. He conocido a mujeres que se han roto por la fuerza del agua, por la mordida de las llamas, bajo el peso de los bloques de piedras apilados sobre su pecho para que ni la más nimia partícula de aire tenga dónde esconderse».

Paciencia es una bruja que vive en un pueblo apartado donde las gentes acuden a ella por remedios y curas. Todos saben que es una bruja, pero mientras nadie la señale con un dedo acusador seguirán buscando su ayuda. No habrá pena ni acusación ni verdugo.
La vida de una bruja no es fácil y todas viven con el miedo a que las llamas toquen a su puerta y conviertan sus vidas en cenizas.
Paciencia es precavida, pero cuando una joven se presenta en su casa pidiendo auxilio no puede imaginar que el fuego que trae consigo está a punto de arrasar con todo.

Corta y maravillosa es esta lectura publicada por @duermevelaed

Me ha encantado el estilo de la autora, cómo te sumerge en la narración como esos cuentos crueles, oscuros y atmosféricos que nos han acompañado siempre.

Hay magia ancestral. Secretos. Y rabia. Rabia por todas esas mujeres silenciadas a lo largo de los años. Humilladas. Golpeadas. Rotas. Ignoradas. Madres. Hijas. Hermanas. Brujas. Inocentes. Cobardes. Egoístas.

«Las dos sabemos la carga que ha asumido; de hecho, la que hemos asumido ambas, porque salvar a alguien conlleva ser responsable de sus acciones a partir de ese momento. Si ayudas a mantener a una persona en el mundo, todo lo bueno y lo malo que hagan siempre será en parte responsabilidad tuya».

¿Qué mejor lectura para empezar el año? Me alegra saber que aún tengo 'Masa madre' en el estante para poder reencontrarme con la magia de Paciencia.
Profile Image for Rachel (Kalanadi).
722 reviews1,406 followers
October 26, 2015

I received an egalley of this novella from the publisher for review. Thank you to Tor.com Publishing! This review is my honest opinion.

Patience Gideon is a witch, and she spends every day at Edda’s Meadow keeping this secret from her neighbors while trying to help them. If any of those who come to her for aid suspect that she’s a witch—and provides a safe house for others with supernatural abilities—they haven’t said. Then a young shapeshifter is caught, and all of Patience’s secrets might spill out… and those of other women in town. Patience may choose to help only herself or the others who depend on each other in this hidden part of their lives.

This was a dark story. Patience is not a “good” witch. Neither are her fellow sisters. There is no higher virtuous calling that these women follow. They help if they can, but they’ll refuse help if it endangers them. They are not going to risk their lives unnecessarily. Patience even has a moment where she seriously considers running and leaving her adopted daughter behind—even if she might be implicated as a witch in Patience’s absence.

I liked this practical, dark view of witchcraft and the women with the gift who practice it. Patience was humanized by what she shares of her past, and what she’s done for her daughter Gilly. But there’s also no denying that she’s done some terrible things and is prepared to do more. And it’s not just Patience who has a dark past and an unhappy tale: Ina, another shapeshifter, has an appalling family situation underneath an apparently content life. Her sister-in-law, Flora, was the cause of such unnecessary suffering because of her shallowness. The pastor’s wife, Charity, took the tale of the abused wife to a nasty place. And it was all believable, with not much hope or ray of sunshine at the end of the day.

This is a story that sucked me in right away. Of Sorrow and Such speaks about the hidden lives of women. Of what women have had to suffer in silence. Gilly is the only one who still seems to have some innocence, but she’s young—and Patience wants her to have a happy life, but doesn’t see how that happiness will take any shape except to marry a decent young man and be a wife. How do these women live? What obligations do they or should they have to protect and save each other when they are threatened? I could have easily disliked Patience for putting herself, at least hypothetically, ahead of everyone else, but really, what ties women together? Love and hope and hatred; shared misery and stolen moments of happiness.

I can’t fault much in this novella. While the story and the ending may be recognizable (this is a witch story, with the men of God coming to town for the burning), the writing was excellent. The characters, especially of Patience, and the dark tone made it refreshing and memorable. I was pleased to discover through the note at the end that previous stories featuring Patience and the other witch, Selke, have been published in two collections. They’re definitely on my list to track down now! I’m eager to explore more of Angela Slatter’s work.

Profile Image for Ana Roux.
Author 11 books92 followers
December 8, 2022
Esta es la historia de brujas que me habría encantado escribir yo
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
December 9, 2015
I wasn’t as sure about this one as I was some of the other Tor.com novellas, so I didn’t buy it outright, but I was curious enough to request it on Netgalley. Especially since the cover wouldn’t be out of place on one of Patricia McKillip’s books, or Juliet Marillier’s, perhaps. Well, it wasn’t exactly like either of those, but it was enjoyable. The main character, Patience, is just so wonderfully practical. Even when that means doing pretty horrifying things. It makes sense, given her life, and I was glad it wasn’t sentimentalised or smoothed over. It happens, and she deals with it as practically as she does it.

The writing itself was a bit uneven, for me — the opening chapter was a bit too much of being told about the world and the character and her life, especially when the setting is fairly typical. There was nothing really that surprised me about that; medieval Europe with witches who are actually witches, really.

It was enjoyable enough that I read it in one go, but I don’t seem to have much to say about it.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Tehani.
Author 24 books94 followers
September 29, 2015
Oh, how much do I love Slatter's Bitterwood/Sourdough world and its characters! I'm very glad I read the two collections before reading this, but you don't have to do so in order to immerse yourself in the story. Slatter's gorgeous prose drives a grim plot peopled by powerfully drawn characters and I adored every bit of it.
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