Beth Underdow’s debut novel, The Witchfinder’s Sister has been getting lots of very good reviews. I enjoy first rate historical fiction so when I found it was marked down temporarily from $11.95 to $1.95 (as a Kindle edition) I hit purchase now. (It is back to $11.95).
Set in the area of Essex, England in in 1645, the novel centers on Alice, recently widowed and pregnant with her late husband’s child. She has no money and her only way of surviving seems to be to return to the house in which she grew up. There are dark memories there.
Her bachelor brother owns the house now. He is a minister and a witchhunter. He is based on a real witchhunter, one who condemmed over 100 women to death. In the period accidental deaths of lifestock, for example, were often blamed on women, especially those showing mental abnormalities. There were barbaric tests to determine if a woman was a witch. Underdown does a good job letting us see how witch finding was done.
The novel spends a lot of time going over things that happened in the past. Underdow does a good job with the atmosphere and the climate of fear. Alice herself begins to feel her Brother suspects her.
I found this book kept my attention and I wanted to see what would happen next. The ending was exciting and satisfying.
As to purchasing it, I can say if it goes back down to $1.95 I can endorse it for fans of historical fiction.
Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.
The Witchfinder’s Sister is her first novel, and is out with Viking in the UK and Ballantine in the US in Spring 2017. The book is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins, whom she first came across while reading a book about seventeenth-century midwifery. From bathunerdown.co.uk