The Witchfinder’s Sister Book Review (Blog Tour)

the-witchfinders-sister-blog

I am so happy to be today’s host in The Witchfinder’s Sister Blog Tour.
I liked this book and I am excited to share my review.
I’d like to thank Josie Murdoch from Penguin Random House UK, for giving me this opportunity.

spoiler vrpca

About the book:

The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six…

1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women’s names.

To what lengths will Matthew’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

spoiler vrpca

My Review:

It has been 15 days since I read The Witchfinder’s Sister, and I still don’t know what to think about it.
That happens rarely to me, almost never.
I have to warn you that my review will probably be all over the place because I am still finding the words to express my thoughts, but there is one thing I can say for sure: The Witchfinder’s Sister left me confused.

The story follows Alice Hopkins who returns to her childhood town to live with her brother Matthew, after a tragic death of her husband.
Since she saw him last time, Matthew changed.
He gained a lot of respect and hangs out with powerful men.
His job is to “expose” witches, put them on trial and punish them if they’re found guilty.

First thing that has to be stress out is that Matthew’s character is based on real person who lived in 17th century in England, and who is responsible for many of  lives lost because women were accused of practicing  witchcraft.
Despite that, this novel is piece of fiction.

It is told in first person, from Alice’s point of view.
I can’t say if the language in this book is authentic to the one that was in use in 1645, but it sounds a bit different from today’s modern English, but at the same time it reads pretty quickly.

The first third of the book was excellent.
The author really managed to describe the cold atmosphere that I imagine was present in that time.
I also liked how it wasn’t clear if the paranormal aspect was really present in the plot, or was it just in the minds of people that live in this book.
There was a point where I had to stop reading because I was too scared (and it was bedtime, so I didn’t want to have a sleepless night(I feel obligated to also tell you that the “problem” was in my head and the book isn’t as scarry as I was afraid it would be)).

The second half of the book was boring, which is a shame.
There were so many descriptions and so little conversations.
I wish we got to see more scenes from trials, but instead we got scenes with Alice hanging out with accused woman.
However, parts where she’s discovering mysery around her brother were really interesting.

I still don’t know what to think about the ending part related to Matthew.
It was somewhat unusual, that is for sure!

The end was good. I really, really liked the last sentence.

Overall, I liked the story in general, but I think it could have been told in more interesting way then it was.
It had potential to be even better.

Still, I think fans of historical fiction would appreciate this story so I recommend it to them, as well as to everyone else who’d like to read more about real witch hunt that happened in England during 17th century.

3,5

spoiler vrpca

About Beth Underdown:

beth-underdown

Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.

The Witchfinder’s Sister is her debut novel, and is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins.

 

spoiler vrpca

Follow the tour:

the-witchfinder-blog-tour-banner-v2

Advertisements

Book Review: Alabaster: What is Most Precious is Also Most Fragile by Chris Aslan

chris-aslan

Title: Alabaster: What is Most Precious is Also Most Fragile
Author: Chris Aslan
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Date: November 18th, 2016
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Maryam is stuck in an abusive marriage, living with her in-laws, in a conservative, toxically religious Middle Eastern setting. A few years back, her father was given a jar of priceless perfume by a dying leper and it seemed as if their fortunes would improve, but then Maryam’s father contracted leprosy and was exiled by the village. Maryam and her brother, Eleazar, and sister, Marta, experience the shame and ostracism this brings. The precious jar that was meant to bring them freedom, but it only seems to have brought destruction. But rumours abound concerning a new doctor; perhaps hope is on the horizon…

vrpca

Review:

Don’t let the look of this book fool you!
It is short. It has only 208 pages. It’s dimensions are also not big.
But the story in it is.
It is so rare for me to finish a book and wonder “How come so many things happened in such a short book?”, but it happened with this novel.
I finished this book so satisfied with what I’ve read, because I got so much from those pages, learned things I didn’t know before and remembered things I forgot.

Alabaster talks the story about Maryam. Her life is not easy. Very young she married into a family that does not appreciate her. Her husband is violent and the one person she cares the most for, her father, is banished from the town she lives in.
The reason: leprosy.

The story takes place in time when Jesus walked among peole. It is told in first person, from Maryam’s POV.

First of all, I think it should be stressed out that this is a piece of christian fiction.
Some people are not comfortable with reading that genre, and I complitely understand it.
It is also shelved as woman’s fiction, but in my opinion, this book reads as young adult.

Although Maryam is married and her life is not an easy one, she is very, very young. At the begginging of the story she is only 15 years old.
Her voice and the way she narrates the story gives an atmosphere similar to the one reader has while reading ya.

I read in one review that the reader felt like the author pushes christian faith to readers, but I’d take that with grand of salt.
I mean, this is a piece of christian fiction and Jesus is one of characters in the story (he shows up in last third of the book), but his role in this story is the one of doctor who can cure leprusy.

Alabaster talks more about hard lives of women during that era, as well as how big of a problem one disease caused not only to families, but to whole society at time.

In his writing, Aslan does not shy away.
Women were abused, and he shows it. There are physical abuse as well as sexual insults described in this book. There is no sugarcoating, but the writer knows where there’s no need for more words, because the reader’s imagination does the rest of the job.

This is an emotional story and one can not help but care.
My heart ached sometimes, because of how hard Maryam’s life was.

If you’re christian, you will probably recognize main characters (Maryam, her sister and brother) from the Bible. It took me some time to realize who they were, because their names were changed (the author made them sound more modern, from what I understand).

This was my first 5 stars worth read of this year.
While I was reading, I wondered “How come more people do not talk about this book?”, but then it came to me.
This is christian fiction, and one of it’s cons is that it is not for everybody, nor do all people want to try that genre, christians or not.

Anyway, I am glad I am one of readers who gave this book a chance, because the time I spent on this book was so worth it.

5