KDL Recommends > Book Club Choices > Reading Group Choices 2011
Daughters of the Witching Hill
Title: Daughters of the Witching Hill
Author: Mary Sharratt
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.
In Daughters of the Witching Hill
, Mary Sharratt brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching novel of strong women, family and betrayal inspired by the 1612 Pendle witch trials.
Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow, lives with her children in a crumbling old tower in Pendle Forest. Drawing on Catholic ritual, medicinal herbs, and guidance from her spirit-friend Tibb, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future in exchange for food and drink. As she ages, she instructs her best friend, Anne, and her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft. Anne ultimately turns to dark magic, while Alizon struggles to accept the power she has inherited and dreams of a simpler life. But when a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate tricks her into accusing her family and neighbors of witchcraft. Suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights as friends and loved ones turn on one another and the novel draws to an inevitable conclusion.