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.

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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’

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Why I’m Currently Reading…

I thought it was about time that I updated you on what I’m currently reading. At the moment I have a few books on the go, which isn’t something I usually do but I got a little back log of stuff to work through for review purposes. One of them came from a brilliant website called Library Thing, this website allows people to sign up and request review copies of books on a monthly basis. I know there are some book lovers amongst you who may think this sounds too good to be true, but all they ask in return is for a book review, of the book, for their website.

I’ve been lucky enough to bag not one, but two books since joining last month, so I’m currently reading.

Wishes and Sorrows by Cindy Lynn Speers

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I’ve also just been informed that I have won a review copy of Amanda Reynolds new novel ‘When You and Me Were Us’ – so I’m sure you will see this pop up in one of my ‘Currently Reading’ posts soon. I’m also working through:

The Penguin Book of Witches by Katherine Howe

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I received this from Penguin Books and was originally going to review it for Belle About Town but they wasn’t sure that it was 100% right for the readership, so I’ll be reviewing it for my book blog now instead.

And as if that isn’t enough, I’m also working through this:

Possession by A.S. Byatt

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and

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

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So don’t be surprised if in a week or so you’re inundated with book reviews, which I will be posting as and when I finish each book. Some of them are more convenient to read on my commute, whereas Wishes and Sorrows and Possession are easier to read in my spare time at home.

Until next time, happy reading fellow bookworms.

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