Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Witch's Daughter (The Witch's Daughter, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Witch's Daughter (The Witch's Daughter, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Witch's Daughter

(The Witch's Daughter #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  32,266 ratings  ·  3,200 reviews
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published December 1st 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Witch's Daughter, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Paula Brackston It is indeed an old word in Dorset dialect for 'maybe' - well spotted!
It is indeed an old word in Dorset dialect for 'maybe' - well spotted!
Maria All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, to spite some negative comments I really enjoyed the series. Book 1 A Discovery of Witches is a little hard goi…moreAll Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, to spite some negative comments I really enjoyed the series. Book 1 A Discovery of Witches is a little hard going at first but just persevere, I was glad I did(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,266 ratings  ·  3,200 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Witch's Daughter (The Witch's Daughter, #1)
Small Review
I was suckered into this book, despite the negative reviews, because the description sounded interesting and the cover caught my eye. Ugh, I should have listened to the reviews. Or, I wish the reviews had been more detailed as to why people didn’t like the book. I’m going to try to be detailed.

First things first, don’t believe that description. It’s sort of accurate, kinda, but it gave me the complete wrong impression. I was expecting to start out with her mother dead and then follow her as she
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I think it was well written and it moved along at a comfortable pace….like watching a movie that isn’t too slow or too fast. It wasn’t trying to be more than it seemed like it was meant to be…a feel good and entertaining book….not always sunny and bright…not always gloomy and dark…pleasantly imaginative and vividly told.

These kinda books are underrated…I’m not saying they should be overrated either—but there is something very respectable about an author knowing how to tell the
Kara Babcock
You’re just going about your daily business, healing people and whatnot, and then what happens? The plague. Suddenly everyone in town is accusing you of being a witch and clamouring for the witch-finder to hang you for consorting with Satan and dancing naked with demons and whatnot. Isn’t that always the way of things? Don’t you hate how people are just so close-minded, even in as enlightened an age as the 1620s? Just because someone might be a witch doesn’t mean she worships Satan! Witches can ...more
Laurie  |  LOHF
This review and the rest of the crap I write can be seen @ my blog Bark's Book Nonsense . Stop by and say hey.

I saw this book on Overdrive and chose it for my Halloween Bingo “Witches” square for no other reason than the title and I guess the blurb sounded vaguely interesting to me, even though the reviews weren’t great. Turns out it was a decent read if you can get past the slow as hell start, but I don’t know if it would’ve worked for me if I hadn’t listened to it as an unabridged audio. Pati
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
I had such high hopes, even ignoring the poor reviews that I should have heeded as warnings. The first few pages held promise, but then something happened, the character turned cold, and I didn't feel an intimacy at all in the writing. I do not have an issue, as some seem to, with stories written as a journal after all, my favorite books are Anais Nin's diaries, so long as the emotions are genuine. The only character I remotely liked was the evil villain, as he was the most interesting one. Woul ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
It was decent enough that I finished reading it, but The Witch's Daughter was, above all else, formulaic and repetitive. Even though it was a book of 4 stories in one, they were all basically exactly the same, following the same pattern of A then B leads to C. "Plot twists" were predictable, especially after the first two internal stories finished. I kept finding myself asking the main character the question of, "Really? You haven't learned? You're supposed to have lived through all of these dif ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For starters I don't understand why people criticize authors for their writing style, it makes no sense. All writers write differently, end of story. Also criticizing a fiction book because of the fictional events in it?? Again pointless. Now onto the book review.

It started out dry.. Really dry but it picked up quick enough and by chapter 5 of Bess's story I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. It was very well written, easy to follow, easy to picture the places and characters and it was e
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in the Shadow Chronicles series, however I feel both books stand alone and actually show no link in the storylines. I was a bit disappointed by this but enjoyed both books nonetheless.
This book had two separate narratives taking place throughout. One in the present day and in the form of entries into a Book of Shadows by Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith. The other is her memories as she tells her story of her lives throughout time whilst being pursued by a dangerous Warlock. She
Before I start, can someone explain this cover to me? What's with those shoes? I don't understand the shoes. They have nothing to do with the story and they look like 5-inch heeled booties. Well, not booties, whatever the next size up is called. Anyway in what time period did Bess/Eliza/Elise/Elizabeth wear 5-inch booties on a daily basis? Please explain to me the meaning of this cover! It's bothering me to no end!

So I started this and was madly in love by the end of the first chapter. It was ex
Amanda Hupe
I just had the most lovely weekend lost in time. I participated in the Page Promise Read-A-Thon and I decided to have a Paula Brackston weekend. The first book I read is The Witch’s Daughter. This book introduces Elizabeth Hawksmith, a young girl who lives with her family in the year 1628. When a plague hits the village, her family is destroyed. However, the plague is not the worst to come through the village. A witchfinder comes to town and her mother pays the ultimate sacrifice for her. In ord ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I feel like this author has a lot of potential, but it wasn't quite realized in The Witch's Daughter. The characters were compelling, yet I consistently found myself wanting more: more depth, more backstory, more understanding of their motivation. Ms. Brackston has a talent for creating characters who draw the reader in and I really enjoyed the beginning and the diary entry format. Even the flashbacks worked for me, although it's becoming a worn format at this point. However, she undermined her ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
Book flips between several time periods because, you know, true witches don't die. Which reminds me of someone is going to turn me into a witch or vampire he or she better get a move on because I'm getting old
Anyway Bess makes a friend and an enemy
Practices her magic and does her best to avenge a wrong done. That's about it
Sep 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
I usually love books with this premise but I only finished it because it was a book club pick. The story has an intriguing enough premise: a witch, hundreds of years old, meets a present day young girl and shares the story of how she became a witch and hopes to train the young girl as an apprentice. Through tales told to the young girl, we learn the tragic circumstances of her life and how she is constantly on the run from the man who made her what she has become. Each of her histories becomes r ...more
Dena (Batch of Books)
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-books, fantasy
I loved this book! It was captivating from start to finish. It was very dark, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that has qualms about witchcraft, magic, or the dark arts. Bess is a great character, who turns into a witch in a moment of desperation and spends the rest of her long life making retribution for it by caring for people. Gideon is a completely horrible person, and I loved how scary and relentless he was.

The book is told in alternatively from the present day journal of Elizabeth and
Deanna Lynn Sletten
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My 5 Star Review

In 1628, Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith (Bess) is a young woman when she loses her family to the plague and then watches her mother swing from The Hanging Tree, accused of being a witch. Scared and alone, she reluctantly follows her mother's wishes and goes to Gideon Masters' cottage in the woods to seek his protection and become his student. What Bess soon learns is that Gideon is a warlock—one who practices dark magic. Soon, a mob comes after Bess, proclaiming her to be a witch like
Erin Arkin
Having been a history major in college, this book was perfect for me. It is a wonderful mix of historical events, great characters, and a moving story. I really did like this book and if you enjoy a little bit of magic mixed in with real history, you may like this one too.

The book opens in 1628 and Elizabeth/Bess is the main character. In present time she is 384 years old but at this time she is the teenage daughter of a farmer and lives with her parents, her older brother, and younger sister. A
Changed my mind. Not rounding up. But still interested in exploring Paula Brackston's other witchy books.

* * * * *

2.5 stars, rounding up because I did like a good chunk of it before the rest of it wore me out.

While I liked Paula Brackston's writing and her takes on the history of witches and modern hedge witches, I felt the book went on for too long, far past the point it should have stopped, and so things (particularly the plot and characters) got a bit boring and I lost interest. But I'm still
Don Handly
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enthralling story

This book was so rich in language and lore. I love books that make you feel like you are wrapped in a warm blanket and that you are coming home.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well this was a HUGE disappointment to me. I love historical fiction, witchcraft, the supernatural....but this wasn't thrilling, this was a SNOOOOOZE. It started off promising enough, and then went quickly downhill. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, especially meeting the adult Bess and hearing her tell of her poor tragic childhood. Tegan as her side kick just irritated me, made it a bit Charmed-ish for me. Once we left the days of the plague and ended up in Ripper time London, and then to wa ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Decent story but the ending did disappoint. I kinda knew where the story was going but overall it kept me interested.
Nancy Nettle
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. The twists and turns really kept you on your toes. I would definitely recommend this to those of you who like this genre. :)
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pagan, fiction, favorites
This story is about a solitary Wiccan named Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, turned immortal by the one creature she spends nearly her entire existence fearing and loathing, the warlock Gideon Masters. Nearly four hundred years old, she finds a new place to settle turning out to be near to her first home when she meets a young teenaged girl named Tegan. Unknowingly at first, Elizabeth becomes attached to her as if she were her own daughter. Tegan obtains a huge interest in the craft and all she's accom ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had this on audible and the narrator was very easy to listen to.

It started well but I felt it was somewhat drawn out. This could be due to my previous audio being witchy. I also watched something on the theme so perhaps badly timed. I will read/listen to more.
I did enjoy this over all but found during the story I wanted to stay in the present and not go thought Bess's life thought flashback but it was still enjoyable. ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If you will listen," I said, "I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Will you listen?"

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was hoping that I would like it but didn't really know what I was in for. This is historical fiction intertwined with supernatural wonder to birth a compelling story of a witch who is just trying to live her life but has been on the run for hundreds of year
Sadie Hartmann
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for quite awhile. It gave me all these warm, cozy feelings perfect for a Fall read. It had this Little House in the Big Woods feel at first-with the protagonist of our story, Bess, moving into a cottage and gardening, getting her house all set up, etc.
I love stuff like that.
Then Bess meets Teagan, a modern day teenager and the stories of Bess' life over 300 years begin. The first story was *really* intriguing. We have a sleepy town, a family farm, the BLACK PLAGUE. We meet an
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I love historical fiction, especially anything about witches and witchcraft, so I was especially glad to find this book. It's similar to the Daughters Of the Witching Hill, The Heretic's Daughter and The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, but less about the witch trials and more about the life of an immortal witch as she traverses through history in her 300-some odd years of life.

The first few chapters were slow and I wondered if the book would get better, which it did, only when the author star
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
The Witch's Daughter was a fairly enjoyable read that made up in the evenly paced writing what it lacked in character and plot development. The writing flowed so beautifully that it was easy to lose myself in the story even when I felt that many of the characters lacked depth and the direction of the story was often confusing. For example, Gideon's obsession with Bess was never sufficiently explained which meant that his following her all of those years made little sense. It seemed beyond reason ...more
Wow! What a powerful experience reading this book was.
I will do a full review later on but I am almost moved to tears by now emotional Elisabeth's story is.
A really beautiful story, come back soon Bess. xxx
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Contemporary fantasy fans, people who don't mind inaccurate 'witchery' books
I'm...really torn about this book.

I was really impressed with it for the first 150 pages or so. The story starts with Elizabeth, an immortal witch who has just moved to a beautiful pastoral town in England. The setting and descriptions of the scenery and landscape are jsut absolutely gorgeous. The story starts out in the present, but then goes back and forth a bit for Elizabeth to recollect the different places and time periods in which she lived. Critical to her past, is her mentor Gideon, who
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Stephietait: Shar...: The Witch's Daughter - Paul Backston 9 3 Feb 05, 2021 11:40AM  
Witchy Fiction: Identity 1 4 May 01, 2019 05:19PM  
Witchy Fiction: Revulsion VS Attraction 1 2 Apr 29, 2019 10:07AM  
Witchy Fiction: Adjusting and Adapting to our world 1 2 Apr 24, 2019 09:27AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. #63 The Witch's Daughter 1 2 Oct 29, 2018 09:18AM  
Bookworm Bitches : October 2013: The Witch's Daughter 29 320 Aug 12, 2018 10:10PM  
Read With Me: Members BR: The Witch's Daughter 17 9 Jun 04, 2018 12:40PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Conjurer (The Vine Witch #3)
  • A Secret History of Witches
  • The Witch's Kind
  • The Glamourist (The Vine Witch, #2)
  • A Witch in Time
  • Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Duology, #2)
  • Time's Convert
  • Spellbreaker (Spellbreaker Duology, #1)
  • The New Witch
  • The Witches of BlackBrook (Witches of BlackBrook #1)
  • Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)
  • Mean Girls at Work
  • The Vine Witch (Vine Witch, #1)
  • The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book, #1)
  • Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)
  • The Norse Queen (The Norsewomen #1)
  • The Age of Witches
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Paula Brackston (aka PJ Brackston)is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter, The Winter Witch, and The Midnight Witch(2014).

Paula has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Da

Other books in the series

The Witch's Daughter (2 books)
  • The Return of the Witch (The Witch's Daughter, #2)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
34 likes · 15 comments
“Better foolish and honest than clever and false.” 55 likes
“To learn, you must be humble. You must be prepared to admit your ignorance. You must allow yourselves to be filled with the vital information presented to you via the skills and dedication of those who have gone before you down the long path to enlightenment.” 26 likes
More quotes…