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Acct. ID: 382109
Notice ID: 17396
Posted: January 5th., 2011
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New Pendle Witch novel, now in paperback
Proclaimed by: Mary Sharratt
Proclaimed from: Great Harwood, England
DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, Mary Sharratt’s acclaimed novel of the Pendle Witches of 1612 is now out in paperback.
Where to buy:
Barnes & Noble:
DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt.
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 foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic.
When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.
Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation.
Watch the author’s short docudrama on the Pendle Witches, filmed live on location around Pendle Hill:
Read Mary’s article “Mother Demdike: Ancestor of My Heart” in Sagewoman Magazine, Issue 79.
Read The Wild Hunt’s interview with Mary Sharratt: http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/04/interview-with-mary-sharratt.html
Read Mary’s article in Rending the Veil on Pendle Witch Mother Demdike and her historical context as a cunning woman:
SPECIAL OFFER: Established Pagan bloggers and reviewers are invited to email the author to receive a free review copy. Visit the author’s website: www.marysharratt.com
What the critics are saying:
An extremely well-written, highly detailed story . . . . This book should be on every modern witch’s bookshelf.
Bronwyn Forbes, Pagan Book Reviews
A great read on many levels – good historical fiction, excellent strong female characters and an ending that – despite the fact that I knew roughly what happened – had me close to tears.
Geraldine Charles, Goddess Pages
Gorgeously imagined . . . Sharratt crafts her complex yet credible account by seamlessly blending historical fact, modern psychology, and vivid evocations of the daily life of the poor whose only hope of empowerment lay in the black arts.
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
Daughters of the Witching Hill offers a fresh approach with witches who believe in their own power and yet, in many ways, are still innocent. Sharratt's readers—like the magistrate who took the women's confessions—are likely to be spellbound by their stories.
M.L. Johnson, AP, San Francisco Chronicle
Full of the reality of the day, this story is stark and real, but Sharratt's descriptions of landscape and the daily life of the poor at the time are rich enough to feed the senses. The author weaves this vast canvas of changing culture into the personal stories of these women, and in the process transports us to a distant land, a distant time—and deep into the story of people we sympathize with and care about.
Linda White, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Sharratt successfully combines excellent historical detail, drama, and emotional accounts that blend beautifully into a vibrant story. Perfectly plotted, impressive, and full of tension, this is most assuredly a bewitching tale. Highly recommended.
Rebecca Roberts, Historical Novels Review, Editor's Choice Pick
A breathless page turner … Daughters of the Witching Hill leads to any exciting conclusion, of course—the gory, dramatic horror of the witch trial—but when readers close the book, that's amazingly not the part we remember. We come to know these 'witches' as people, skilled in herbal or even magical healing, yes, but also in demanding respect from others, and of themselves.
Kristen Thiel, Rain Taxi
Sharratt masterfully tells her story through the strong, first-person voices of Bess and Alizon, voices that reach out to us over the centuries and are sure to enlighten readers and provide them with much food for thought.
Every time I picked this book up I was immediately transported to Pendle Forest and completely absorbed in the story of these women. . . . I encourage all to read this enchanting story.
Bookbrowse.com, Editor's Choice Pick
This book is a new approach to an old subject and will take you back to a time when innocence was lost because of fear, petty revenge and superstition. It will bewitch you.
Mary Daugherty, The News-Enterprise
Daughters of the Witching Hill is very different for Sharratt, yet just as rich and compelling as this author’s previous works. Bess and her clan live and breathe on the pages of Sharratt’s book—at least for a while—and we come away from the experience with a fresh view of what might really have happened in Lancashire in 1612.
Sienna Powers, January Magazine
This is first and foremost a story about strong women. . . . Mary Sharratt does a good job with the suspense built around the hunt and the minimal evidence needed to cry witch and hang a person at this time in history.
Amy Gwiazdowski, Bookreporter.com
A fascinating tale. The story unfolds without melodrama and is therefore all the more powerful. Recommended for fans of Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.
Jamie Kallio, Library Journal Starred Review
The Pendle witches’ story, retold as a passionate saga of female friendship.
Sharratt fills the book with fascinating accounts of rituals and magic practices, and her gift for the language of the era brings the narrative to life. Striking just the right balance between the demands of fact and the allure of a good story, she has produced a novel that’s both convincing and compelling. Daughters is—literally—a spellbinding book.
Julie Hale, BookPage
What an original voice Mary Sharratt has. She brings a haunting, ancient story — part of the local legend and history of where she lives — into life with vivid characters and a gripping plot. Old, lost, long-ago ways are made real.
Karleen Koen, author of Through a Glass Darkly and Dark Angels
A remarkable story, powerful and compelling and ultimately
Sharon Kay Penman, author of The Sunne in Splendour, Here Be Dragons, The Devil's Brood, and Time and Chance
Witchvox Author’s Notes:
The wild, brooding landscape of Pendle Hill in Lancashire, Northern England, my home for the past eight years, gave birth to my new novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, which tells the true story of the Pendle Witches.
In 1612, seven women and two men from Pendle Forest were hanged for witchcraft, but the most notorious of the accused, Bess Southerns, aka Mother Demdike, cheated the hangman by dying in prison. This is how Thomas Potts, describes her in THE WONDERFULL DISCOVERIE OF WITCHES IN THE COUNTIE OF LANCASTER:
"She was a very old woman, about the age of Foure-score yeares, and had been a Witch for fiftie yeares. She dwelt in the Forrest of Pendle, a vast place, fitte for her profession: What shee committed in her time, no man knowes. . . . No man escaped her or her Furies."
Other books have been written about the Pendle Witches--both nuanced and lurid. Mine is the first to tell the tale from Bess Southerns's point of view. I longed to give her what her world denied her--her own voice.
History is a fluid thing that continually shapes the present. Set in an era of religious intolerance, political strife, suspicion, and social inequality, Bess and her family's struggle to survive the 1612 witch-hunt feels more relevant than ever. I hope you will be as moved by their story as I am.
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