Daughters of the Witching Hill
Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and fore...more
Though other books have tackled a fictitious account of Lancashire Witchcraft Trials of 1612, Mary Sharratt is the first author among them to give Mother Demdike and her granddaughter, Alizon Device, their own say. Daughters of the Witching Hill is told in two voices. The first section being narrated by Bess Southerns (Mother Demdike) and the second by Alizon. Through this we see how both women viewed their world and their gift of cunning craft. Of course, som ...more
Not knowing much about the 1612 witch trials of the Pendle witches in England, I didn't know what to expect, but I figured that it ended much like the witch trials I do know about: the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. A big difference I noticed is that in the 1612 trials, if someone admitted that they were a witch, they weren't shown leniency, while in the Salem trials, if someone admitted they we ...more
Mary Sharratt has created a vivid story rich with period detail and social context. Her writing is polished and refined and she is able to create a picture of what life was like for the poor after the Reformation. This book would be an excellent tool for teachers who ...more
While Daughters of the Witching Hill does explore the interesting idea of the sometimes thin line between religion and superstition, it fails to provide a real conflict. There is the sense of dread at the possibility of the "cunning" women being discovered and charged with witchcraft, but this lingering nervousness is not really enough to keep the reader engaged through the entirety of the book. Also, the author never fully expl ...more
Mary Sharratt paints a vivid and moving story of the Pendle Witches (also known as the Lancashire Witches), a true story of a group of women and men thought to be witches and hung in Lancashire, England in 1612. DOTWH is told through the eyes of Mother Demdike (Bess Southerns) and her g ...more
This is a well written book. The ending(no surprise how it ends..hmm..one can take a guess), brought it up a bit for me. 3/4 of the book follows the characters through their lives. It's not until the final 1/4 that you get to the trials itself(which is written really well--I felt I was there).
The characters are realistically imagined and the author ...more
The voices of Bess Southerns and Alizon Device are perfectly captured in these pages, and even thou ...more
This seemed a very fast read for me, but then the subject is fascinating to me so that helps how quickly I can get through a book. This was hard, very hard to read, however, in an emotional sense. Knowing that this story is based on a true account (though the story is itself fiction) makes it seem much more real.
I thou ...more
This excellent fictionalized account of the 1612 UK witch trials is not merely history. Women today are still continually targeted for living and speaking their truth. In some parts of the world this is still called practicing witchcraft.
Last night in Canada an 11 year old girl was found murdered. Her father has been arrested. The police did not listen to the mother of this girl about the violent threats the fathe ...more
Daughters of the Witching Hill may be fiction but its cast and storyline are taken straight from the history books. The time period of this novel is the late 1500’s through the early 1600’s. The story is based on the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612.
The book gets off to a slow start as the author recounts a lot of Bess Demdike’s coming into her powers and discovering her familiar “Tibbs.” If she could be called anything it would be a good w ...more
This novel deals with the Pendle witch trials of 1613, near Lancashire, England. It is a beautifully written portrayal of the two women at the heart of the trials, Bess Southerns (AKA Mother Demdike, or Gran to Alizon) and her granddaughter Alizon Device. Told through their poi ...more
Set late in the reign of Elizabeth I and the earlier years of James I, the novel takes place in Lancashire, England in the Pendle Hill area. The protagonists are the family of Bess Southerns, a poor widow who has no land and no trade but her healing ability and some day labor. They live in stark poverty- almost nothing to eat ...more
It took me awhile to get into the book but once I began to get into it, it was fantastic. I think that it took me some time to warm up to the period of history and getting the 'lay of the land' with the novel. But, once I was able to get ...more
Although written as fiction, the story is based in historical fact, not unlike the Salem Witch Trials.
The story revolves around Bess Southern and her family. King Henry VIII has dissolved the Catholic Church but many still remain true to the Church and remain steeped in the ways of the Church.
Bess is known throughout the count ...more
While reading the story of the three generations of “healing” women that lived in the late 16th/early 17th century, I was taken with the living the conditions of the time, especially for thos ...more
I didn't know anything about this particular set of witch hunts, but I'm familiar with the time period (and grateful I don't live in it). I've read a lot of books recently where the tension between the old faith (Catholicism) and the new one (Protestantism) has played a ...more
Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medic ...more