One Minute Book Review – The Witch and her Soul by Christina Middleton

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This is historical fiction at its very best, taking what is known and filling in the gaps in the record with plausible fiction. The story follows the life of Jane Southworth from her childhood to the Lancaster Assizes in 1612 where she was tried for witchcraft as one of the Samlesbury witches. It also touches on the Pendle witches who were tried at the same assizes. The author displays a thorough knowledge of the period and an understanding of the myriad factors, political and personal, which provoked witch trials in this period.
The prose is fluid and poetic, rich in detail and entirely lacking in any sense that the reader is being treated to a history lesson. The language used also manages to create a clear sense that this is a different time and place without sounding antiquated. Jane emerges as an engaging and thoroughly understandable character yet still a woman of her time. A detailed review can be found here.

 

3 thoughts on “One Minute Book Review – The Witch and her Soul by Christina Middleton

  1. Thank you so much for reviewing this. I have been looking for a book set in this period for some time as I find it fascinating. In a similar vein, I would recommend Arthur Miller’s The Crucible- he uses the 17th century Salem witch trials as an allegory for 1950s MacCarthyism. Bronte

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Witch and her Soul is straight storytelling which I think is one of the reasons I liked it so much. A couple of non-fiction books that I would recommend highly to anyone interested in witchcraft claims and witch trials in England are Gregory Durston’s ‘Witchcraft and witch trials: a history of English witchcraft and its legal perspectives, 1542 to 1736’ (2000) which is an excellent general history of witch trials in England during this period and ‘Witchcraft in England, 1558-1618’ (1991) edited by Barbara Rosen which is a collection of extracts from pamphlets describing witch trials with informative and cool-headed commentary.

      Liked by 1 person

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