Updated: Jul 24, 2020
by Beth Underwood
Published by Penguin
This is the story of the self styled and self appointed Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins as told through the voice of his sister, Alice. Responsible for the deaths of over one hundred women, suspected of witchcraft in the 1640s, Hopkins carried out his ferocious campaign in Manningtree in Essex where the story is set, and further abroad into East Anglia. Alice is forced by circumstances to seek a home with her brother, and quickly realises that he has changed into a fanatical and obsessive misogynist. The style is a little clunky at times, and I don't buy into the publisher's claim that Alice is one of the most memorable heroines in recent historical fiction.
But it is nonetheless gripping and compelling and a fascinating account of a woman's determination to survive the most terrifying of circumstances.
And the novel ends with the promise of a sequel. In Salem.