“Just like a man to suggest the most obvious thing in the world as though it might be revelation to a woman’s cottony mind. When it seems to me all the most obvious things in the world must be done by women, or else they wouldn’t get done.”The Manningtree Witches
Thank you NetGalley, A.K. Blakemore, and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to read this book, the audiobook will be released September 23rd!
The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore is narrated by Sofia Zervudachi. It is 1643 and to be frank, not the greatest time period for women. England is currently in the midst of a Civil War and then there is the rise of the Puritans. Rebecca West lives in Manningtree. She is poor and unmarried. Her mother, Beldam West is a widow and is quite feared in the community. However, fear is everywhere these days. Rebecca West has eyes for the clerk, John Edes. He teaches her about the bible, and how to read and write. She can’t help but have a little hope that one day he may turn his eyes on her. But then a man named, Matthew Hopkins comes to town. He makes it his business to know what is going on in town and if there is anything suspicious happening. Suddenly, a child succumbs to raging fits. He mentions the devil and familiars. Accusations are made and one wrong turn can send a woman to the gallows.
When you think of the Witch Trials, what comes to mind? That’s right, Salem. But I was shocked how many people don’t realize that there were Witch Trials all throughout Europe. One of the things that I loved most about this book is the research that went into it. In fact, the “villain” is none other than Matthew Hopkins. Matthew Hopkins was a prominent figure during the English Civil War and his title: The Witchfinder General. Just a quick search and you will find that he was the reason for the execution of more than 100 “accused witches” in just two years. Most were women. He wrote the book, The Discovery of Witches and he claimed he started his career in Manningtree. So when he is introduced in this book, I got chills. As you are reading, you can feel the sense of dread whenever he is in the scene.
The women are the stars of this book thought. Rebecca West, Judith, their mothers…they were poor women in a society who hated women in general. With the story being partly from Rebecca West’s point-of-view the author is giving her power and her voice, the voice of women who were often silenced. While the beginning is a little slow, it sure picks up. It did get some Crucible vibes as well and the prose is outstanding. Don’t get me started on the narrator. She was amazing! It felt like she was acting out every word and we only had the audio. I could almost hear her actually crying whenever there were tears involved. This is an excellent book to add to your Witchy lists! I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!