I think now that to be close to someone can be to underestimate them. Grow too close, and you do not see what they are capable of; or you do not see it in time.” -THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER
THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER, Beth Underdown’s debut, is about Matthew Hopkins, a real English witch hunter who sent over a hundred women to the gallows for witchcraft. In this story, Matthew’s sister, Alice, recently widowed, returns to Essex to live with him. Alice soon hears of her brother’s witch hunts. She wants to help both her brother and the women he’s terrorizing, but she knows the price is a heavy one. Alice delves into her family history to determine what’s driving her brother’s rage. The secrets she uncovers are more dark and twisted than she could have ever imagined.
World War histfic is my first histfic love, but I’m also fascinated by witch trials. I loved traveling back to this time period and seeing this world through Alice’s eyes. THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER began as a slow burn which gradually built. Once Alice started getting dragged into the witch hunting business, the fire of my interest was raging. Matthew Hopkins was such a cold and calculating man, and just like Alice, I was dying to know why. The deeper she got into her family’s past, the deeper she pulled me in.
Everyone knows about the Salem witch trials, but many don’t know about the trials which took place in England prior to Salem. This is such a dark and intriguing period in history. The tests these women endured were horrifying, and the people conducting them were worse. Alice is desperate to stop Matthew and his corrupted efforts to find and convict witches. She subtly resists him, but there’s only so much she can do against a man with unbridled power.
THE LAST LINE OF THIS BOOK. I’ve never wanted to write a spoiler into a review more than I do now (I won’t, don’t worry. But after you read the book and know what I’m talking about, let’s discuss). I just wanted to jump into the book and scream. And that’s all the spoiler I’ll give you, my friends.
A little history, a little mystery, and a lot of downright creepy make THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER a perfectly haunting fall read for any adult.
…Father had said to me once that the most fearful thing you could meet down a dark lane was another person. But it is not so, I thought… what you meet in the dark is yourself. And that is truly a thing to be feared.” -THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER