Book Review – The Penguin Book of Witches by Katharine Howe

In modern day society when you hear the word ‘Witch’ an image is conjured to mind of Halloween, a crooked nose and a pointed cap and the sad fact is, at one point in time there were actual women who were persecuted by their community because they were believed to have been consorting with the Devil and were condemned as Witches.

10425152_10152552661818650_811946887902571848_n

The Penguin Book of Witches by Katharine Howe is an incredibly detailed novel. Howe has done extensive research into the Witch Trials that took place not only here in the UK, but in America and most notably Salem. There are excerpts from novels written at the time, interviews that took place, trial notes and much more in this book.

This a fantastic piece of work which not only sheds a light on the horrific ways in which women were tried but also shows how delusional and brainwashed people were. It also seems that women of a lower class seemed to be targeted by these Witch Hunters and how much easier it seemed to place the blame of death on any woman accused of having ‘spirit guides’ which to the modern person would just be a lonely old woman who speaks to her cats.

In depth, eye opening and fascinating, this book makes for a great read even if you’re not interested in the history of the witch trials. My only criticism is some of the Old English words took a while to work around to make it easy flowing.

Star Rating out of 5: 3.5

‘Sickness from unhygienic conditions made for a high infant mortality rate, but those deaths were easier to bear if they could be blamed on someone else’

x

Book Review – Witch Hunt by Syd Moore

I was really keen to read this book, what with it being the month of October, I thought it would help set the scene for Halloween and get me in the mood. And don’t get me wrong, it did deliver some creepy moments but it quickly turned into something of a let down.

10647165_10152503363443650_7477950028096965345_n

Sadie Asquith is a journalist who has always been fascinated by the Essex Witch Trials of the 16th Century, and as she lands a book deal she finds herself delving into the past much more. But sadly the book deal has come at a traumatic time for Sadie, whose mum has just passed away. It isn’t long before Sadie begins to experience strange things, from ghostly apparitions to eerie voices and soon she begins to feel that she is being warned to stop writing the book.

Although well written and providing plenty of atmosphere, there were moments when the book seemed to repeat itself a little bit and the moments that were created to conjure fear in the readers were too few for my liking. Saying that when there was a scenario where fear and tension were built, they were classics and delivered perfectly. For example a moment where Sadie goes up into her loft to investigate the sound of a heavy object scraping along the floor, or the moment she’s in the shower and finds herself being swarmed in lice. Both delightfully creepy and icky.

But sadly I saw what was meant to be the twist, way before the character did, which any book reader will admit is most disappointing. We want to be shocked by a good twist or horrified by a well timed surprise, but I’m afraid this was written in such a way that it was somewhat spoiled for me. It is a well-researched book, which if anything will probably encourage you to go and look into Witch Trials that took place in Britain and read up more on Matthew Hopkins. I’d recommend this to people who are interested in the history of Witch trials and for those looking for an easy Halloween read.

Star Rating out of 5: 3.5

‘And so I walked like a ghost through the memories of my afterlife.’

 

Happy reading fellow bookworms.

x