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The Darkest Shore

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The independent women of Scotland stand up to a witch hunt, male fury and the power of the Church in a battle for survival in this compelling historical novel based on true events in early eighteenth century Scotland.

1703: The wild east coast of Scotland.
Returning to her home town of Pittenweem, fishwife and widow Sorcha McIntyre knows she faces both censure and mistrust.
...more
ebook, 528 pages
Published March 1st 2020 by HQ Fiction
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  183 ratings  ·  47 reviews


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Brenda
Sorcha McIntyre was unsure of her reception once she returned to her hometown of Pittenweem after an absence of years, but was pleasantly surprised at the welcome she received, at least from her women friends. The fishwives of Pittenweem were a strong, hardworking group of women who spent their days on the shore on the east coast of Scotland, mending the fishing nets and many other chores from dawn to dusk. Nettie, the good friend who had been living in Sorcha’s home while she was away, kept Sor ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Someone had to bear witness.’

In 1703, Sorcha McIntyre returns to her hometown of Pittenweem, on Scotland’s east coast. Pittenweem is a small fishing village, steeped in legend, tradition and superstition. Sorcha is a widow and a fishwife, whose defiance of custom will prove dangerous.

A young local lad falls ill. A victim of witchcraft, according to Reverend Cowper and some of the local villagers. In the ensuing hysteria, several women are named witches, imprisoned and tortured. The Reverend Cow
...more
Theresa Smith
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, aww2020
History is rife with examples of humans doing their worst. When you read as much historical fiction as I do, you have occasion to come across this fairly regularly. Even so, I’m still pulled up at times by history that has been buried deep in the hopes that it may not ever be discovered and pulled out into the light. And so it is with the 1704 witch hunt of Pittenweem, the history that this incredible novel, The Darkest Shore, is based upon. This is a dark read, with human nature exposed at its ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com

4.5 stars

'Wasn’t that what the fishwives were? Sisters of the sea.’Twas the sea and its siren call and the men whom they cleaved that made the sisters of all the fishwives, regardless of who their mothers were, where they hailed from, and whether their husbands, fathers or brothers were alive or dead. Once a fishwife, always a fishwife.’

Sometimes history turns dark corners. In The Darkest Shore, the latest novel from Karen Books, a group of women rebel again
...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks is a compelling, fascinating, and disturbing historical fiction novel inspired by true events.

“Twas the sea and its siren call and the men to whom they cleaved that made sisters of all the fishwives, regardless of who their mothers were, where they hailed from, and whether their husbands, fathers or brothers were alive or dead.”

The story begins on Hogmanay (New Years Eve) 1703 as Sorcha McIntyre returns home to Pittenweem, a small fishing village on the east co
...more
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
Set in early 18th century Scotland this evocative tale retells an infamous and dark incident of history. The persecution of people but mainly women by men in authority who used superstition and mob mentality to exercise their own power. A slow moving story in parts however the reader will also feel a real sense of indignation and contempt for these supposed Godly men whose accusations of witchcraft will decimate the lives of these women and leave an lasting stain on a whole community.

The author
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Heidi
“Above all, THE DARKEST SHORE is a love-letter to the fishwives and all other ‘wicked women’ out there, a tribute to strong, resourceful women whose boldness and courage, and that of their families and the men who stand by them, is cause for wonder, celebration and commemoration.” Karen Brooks about her book THE DARKEST SHORE

If you like books featuring courageous and strong female characters, then look no further. Karen Brooks’ love-letter to the fishwives, who feature prominently in this stor
...more
Kathy
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book had my name written all over it! A historical novel set in my fav time period of 1704/05 and in Scotland as well, which is one of my fav settings!!! Yay! I couldn’t wait to dive right in. Australian author Karen Brooks has presented an amazingly well researched, captivating book. Based on true events, this book is about a lot of things, friendship, family, loyalty but so much more as well, imprisonment, injustice and brutal torture! I will admit sometimes I just found it hard to pick t ...more
Helen
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5*

I have read and enjoyed two Karen Brooks novels before and they have been exceptional. I was therefore eager to try her latest - a tale of witch hunts in eighteenth century Scotland.

This gripping and confrontational tale revolves around a group of women - fishwives - who are accused of being witches. There is a great deal of research that has gone into this fictional adaptation. Based on a true story this is a shocking truth and extremely cruel occurrence. In a world dominated by men and rel
...more
Camila - Books Through My Veins
- thanks to @harlequin for sending the book my way💕

I have always been super interested in reading about historical witch trials, especially novels inspired by real events. On this account, The Darkest Shore was a wise choice as the author has undoubtedly done an extensive research to write this book. There is an author's note at the end that thoroughly explains how certain characters were based on some of the people who were involved in the Pittenween witch trials of 1705.

Although historically,
...more
Michael Phillips
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great historical fiction based on true events of how women were treated long ago. So well researched and compelling reading! I read in 4D these days! Whilst reading this book, I listened to Celtic music & ocean sounds, googled everything and used Google maps to 'walk' around Pittenweem's harbour, streets, church, cemetary, Tolbooth and actually go inside St Fillan's Cave where the witches were imprisoned 300 years ago. Full immersion! LOL I think I was there in a past life! Well done, Karen! Gre ...more
Angelique Simonsen
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is quite dark with the imprisonment and torture of the supposed witches but the character of the reverend really takes the cake.
I'd had given it 5 stars but it ended too sweetly for me with all the characters getting their happily ever after
Naomi (aplace_inthesun)
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
1703 Scotland:- Sorcha McIntyre returns to her cottage in Pittenweem after spending time away at the home of her sister. She left Pittenweem originally to mourn the death of her husband and young son.

On her return Sorcha is reminded of the small mindedness of the locals and suspicions regarding fish wives such as herself being the source of witchcraft, and when a young lad appears to have been cursed, the Reverend Cowper, a thorn in Sorcha’s side from way back, is determined to bring about the r
...more
Carolyn
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks is a story set in the town of Pittenweem in Scotland named for its witches and witchcraft.

It's historical fiction based on true events some of which may disturb you as it's a dark and brooding tale.

It's set in a fishing village by the sea where fish abound.

The location is the perfect setting for this witches and fishwives tale.

Isle of May in the distance with a light that shines and twirls brightly over the moonlit ocean.

You'll ride on stormy seas and enjoy the
...more
Cassie
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5/5

This is a story based on true events. It is essentially about the imprisonment and torture of a group of women falsely accused of witchcraft.

This story is very dark but also intensely riveting. I couldn’t put it down! I binge read the last 70% in a day. The author has done a fantastic job in creating an authentic and tense atmosphere. The setting is richly detailed without being belabored and feels like it’s own character.

The author has done an exceptional job at creating interesting and w
...more
Lauren Chater
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this beautiful story of women’s strength and friendship set in the early 18th century. Full RTC but I will definitely be reading Karen’s next book!
Helen
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
For me this was a book that I found hard to get into at the beginning, but when I did I didn’t want to put it down, the research that went into this book to tell the story of witch hunts in Pittenween back in the 1700’s was amazing and it is based on a true happening with extra characters added that made this one a story that had me getting emotionally involved and so many emotions, sadness, anger and the ending had me smiling.

It is 1703 in the village of Pittenween on the coast of Scotland and
...more
Deborah I
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book made me want to visit Pittenweem. The intense and dramatic Fife coast, in my mind, was as bewitching as any of the characters in the book; I find this often happens in novels with a Scottish setting- the sense of place eclipses, yet enhances, the rest of the story. By the end of this novel, I felt a real affection for ‘The Weem’ …it feels like a home I’ve never visited.

The Darkest Shore is a celebration of female friendship and resilience. A study of superstition, religion, and gossip
...more
Linda Joy
Aug 28, 2020 rated it liked it
You know, I really looked forward to my daily reads with this book. The research and grounding was totally fabulous and I found myself googling truths about witch hunts throughout the read. Brooks has presented a reliable account of the horrific events that took place in the ‘Weem’ and manages to truly immerse the reader into the culture of the Scottish Coast and their fish wives.
For me, the only eye rolling moments occurred in the weaving of ‘the romance’ though, I was super glad it did not ru
...more
Julie
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A little bit drawn out for me , and skimmed some parts. Good historical fiction ..
Warren Gossett
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You may savour or be horrified as this story unfolds. Or, like me, madly rush reading page after page breathlessly. Such enjoyment either way.
Hayley (meet_me_at_the_library)
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with witch-hunts and witch trials, so I was excited when I read the synopsis for this book. The Darkest Shore is based on the witch hunt of Pittenweem, Scotland in the early eighteenth century.

This fascinating story centres around a group of fishwives who are accused of being witches. It celebrates the courage and strength of women in a male dominated world, and shines a light on strong female friendships. In a time where superstition was wove
...more
Lyn
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This may be Karen Brook's best book yet. I have loved all her previous ones, so with glee I started this. She has captured the fear and menace that witch hunting would bring. The reverend is an evil man, and she shows how he manipulates the people around him. I loved the fish wives. Their strength and love for each other was heart warming. It is easy to see how a town could get whipped into such a frenzy, look at Australia today regarding coronavirus. I also loved the Scottish words and sayings. ...more
Bek Elliott-Casson
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome reading
Cassie
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5

This is a story based on true events. It is essentially about the imprisonment and torture of a group of women falsely accused of witchcraft.

This story is very dark but also intensely riveting. I couldn’t put it down! I binge read the last 70% in a day. The author has done a fantastic job in creating an authentic and tense atmosphere. The setting is richly detailed without being belabored and feels like it’s own character.

The author has done an exceptional job at creating interesting and w
...more
Lorraine
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it

“The Darkest Shore” is a completely absorbing historical novel; based on real events, it’s easy to see parallels with contemporary events and behaviours.

In 1703 in Scotland, witches are considered a real and present danger. Oddly, however, a very high proportion of accused witches are women who don’t bow to the way men think they should behave, or who have property and money to be confiscated. Torture is considered an acceptable way to gain a confession – and if a woman has the strength to surv
...more
Jeannette
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book blurb…
The independent women of Scotland stand up to a witch hunt, male fury and the power of the Church in a battle for survival in this compelling historical novel based on true events in early eighteenth century Scotland.
1703: The wild east coast of Scotland.
Returning to her home town of Pittenweem, fishwife and widow Sorcha McIntyre knows she faces both censure and mistrust. After all, this is a country where myth and legend are woven into the fabric of the everyday, a time when those
...more
Rhoda
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Harlequin Australia for giving me both a kindle version and ‘real’ book to review.

Sorcha returns to Pittenweem, Scotland after a somewhat disastrous visit with her sister and is welcomed back warmly by all her friends, the ‘fishwives’ of Pittenweem. Not all of the town are happy to see her back though, as many are wary of the fishwives, as they are strong independent women, which is unusual in the early 18th century.

The Revered Cowper is particularly threatened by the fishwives an
...more
Sonya
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book 10 stars. I normally would have flown through this book, but I had to stop so many times as it left me equally heartbroken and horrified. The main male character Reverend Cowper, would make me so angry and so infuriated with the hypocrisy and fear that he dominated his community with. The female characters are all amazing, and so well written. The horror of what the women endured by these fanatical males who were so heat up with their own importance created a real r ...more
readingwithcake
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Based on a true witch hunt that occurred in the town of Pittenweem, Brooks has done a fantastic job in portraying this event in this piece of historical fiction. Funnily enough this book made me feel quite nostalgic and took me back to my History undergrad at UQ and the seriously interesting witch and heresy subjects I studied! I do think Brooks captures the witch hysteria them at occurred in towns/ villages over Europe and America really well and even with the addition of the fiction she really ...more
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