Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

Bess Southerns lived all of her eighty plus years in Pendle Forest, a wise woman and herbalist who used old Latin prayers to bless and heal the sick. The Catholic rites and feast days had melded with the ancient pagan traditions and the two were inextricably entwined in Bess. She could not tell for sure where her power came from, the Virgin Mary or the Queen of Elfhame. But she vowed early on to use her ability only for good and never to delve into the dark side of her gift.

Such a promise proved hard to adhere to. The lives of the poor were very hard in the Puritan England of Elizabeth I. With the dissolution of the monasteries and convents went the aid to the poor that those houses provided. When power mad landlords oppressed and even abused their tenants, Bess was unable to refuse to help her lifelong friends, even if it meant delving into the black magic that shook her very soul.

Still, she and her family and friends were left alone for many years. She wielded her own sort of power, so that most were afraid to cross her. As her granddaughter Alizon grew, Bess was thrilled to see the family power passed down. Alizon was not, she wanted nothing to do with the family "gift". She only wanted a normal life.

With Queen Elizabeth's death came King James...and he was far less tolerant of Catholics than Elizabeth had been. Catholics became nearly synonymous with witches, making it easy for those in control to rid themselves of those that were unwanted or troublesome. And so, finally, Bess and her family and friends found themselves accused and imprisoned.

Pendle Hill

What a fantastically woven tale this is, hung on the threads of reality and brought to life by the wonderful imagination of Mary Sharratt. While the facts of this particular case are well documented, it takes a historical novel like this to allow the casual reader to appreciate the atmosphere of time and place, to understand the political and social undercurrents that have long been lost. This is where a historical novelist truly shines, as the author certainly does with Daughters of the Witching Hill.

Daughters of the Witching Hill is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0-547-06967-8

Visit Mary's website for more information about the author and all of her books!

I have an extra copy that will go to the randomly drawn winner! For one entry, just leave me a comment here. If you would like extra entries there are instructions below. Giveaway open through midnight eastern time on May 9th. The winner must have a US or Canada mailing address.

+2 Follow this blog any way you choose (Google, Feedburner, etc) and leave a comment...if you already do, include that in your comment
+2 Tweet or blog this giveaway and leave me a comment to let me know that you did

Good luck everyone, thank you for visiting and entering!


Molly said...

While I don't read a lot of historical fiction at the moment, I am learning to appreciate it more. This story sounds like a good one, and I would love to be entered in the contest.

The photo is absolutely gorgeous! I hope to see a sheep farm sometime while traveling around Oxford area this summer.

Mstermind1 at gmail dot com

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

This book sounds so exciting and I would like to win and read it.

I follow by google reader.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Stacey Brucale said...

This sounds like a really good book. I'd love the chance to read it!

+2 blog follower


bermudaonion said...

Everyone seems to love this book. I would love to get hold of a copy.

I subscribe in Google Reader.


Sage Ravenwood said...

I love a haunting tale like this. Please include me in this drawing. Thanks! Indigo

+2 Follow on Google Reader


Linda said...

Thanks for including the picture of Pendle hill. I've been hearing about this book and am very anxious to read it. Thank you for the giveaway.

+2 I follow through Google Reader.


Unknown said...

I hadn't heard of this book before yesterday, but now you've got me intrigued. So I'm commenting, and I already follow on Google Reader. :)

Sandra K321 said...

I would love to read this book; I've seen some great reviews of it.

+2 follow via google friend


Katy said...

+2 I'm following you in my google reader.

+2 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/afewmorepages/status/12951729717


angie said...

I would love to read this book! I have heard great things about it.
+2 I am already a follower
+2 I tweeted http://twitter.com/bangersis/status/12952855057

Jo-Jo said...

I would love a chance to win this one.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I'm also a follower.

joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Zibilee said...

Ooh! I have been wanting to read this book after reading wonderful reviews of it. Please count me in on your giveaway!!



Mary Sharratt said...

Thank you so much, Carey.

Thank you everyone for your comments. The countryside around Pendle is just as beautiful as the pictures you see. Right now the fields are full of baby lambs and new born calves.

Unknown said...

I would love to win this book!
+2 I'm a follower.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

Craftymoose Crafts said...

This book sounds perfect for my first foray into historical fiction!

I follow by RSS.

Mystica said...

I'd like to be counted in for this book. I follow.


Gwendolyn B. said...

I've had my eye on this book for awhile. (Thanks for the chance to win a copy!) I enjoyed your review and your description of what a good historical novelist does.

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Gwendolyn B. said...

+2 - Already a Follower!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Gwendolyn B. said...

+2 Here's my Tweet: http://twitter.com/ASeaOfBooks/status/12968122333

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

enyl said...

This would make a great addition t my classroom library.

enyl said...

GFC follower.

enyl said...

GFC follower

enyl said...

Feed Burner Follower.

enyl said...

Feed Burner follower.

enyl said...


enyl said...


rubynreba said...

Please enter me. Looks like a great book.

+2 Follow on google


traveler said...

I am intrigued by this wonderful novel. Thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

would enjoy reading this book...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


And I am a follower!

J.T. Oldfield said...

Please enter me! I've heard such good things about this book!

I follow you w/ GReader.


Margie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Please include me.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

+2 blog follower via GFC

madwoman-doing-cartwheels said...

I love this era of Historical fiction. Mary is a brand new author to me and I would love to read her book. Thanks for the chance!

rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

rubymoon said...

I follow you by email and also on Google Connect (Ally)


rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

LibraryGirl said...

I keep hearing wonderful things about this book and it definitely sounds like my kind of reading.

+2 now following your blog (thought I was before but apparently not)

angela.donner (at) gmail.com

Unknown said...

I would love a chance to win this book.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

+1 I adore historical fiction. I've read a lot of Gregory's books on the Tudors and this would make a great addition to those.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

+2 follow you on GFC-Lisa Richards

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

+2 follow you on twitter-alterlisa

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

+2 tweeted about contest--alterlisa

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

+2 blogged about contest--http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-memes-51-515.html

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

a real librarian said...

I have heard awesome things about this one! Thanks for the chance to win!

a real librarian said...

Sorry - forgot my email!


mrsshukra said...

Enjoyed reading your review, thanks, please count me in!


Rachel said...

I follow you on my Google Reader! Thanks for the giveaway!


Anonymous said...

need some spring readin,for a rainy day ,thx for contest..

Shannon said...

I'm a follower. Thank you. =)


Margie said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
I'm a follower via GFC
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Renee G said...

I absolutely love historical fiction. This one sounds great. rsgrandinetti@yahoo(dot)com

Caroline said...

Looks like a interesting read. Hope I win!


Debbie F said...

Please include me! thanks

I'm a follower!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Carol M said...

This book sounds really good! Please enter me. Thank you!

I follow on Google Friend Connect and by email.

mittens0831 at aol dot com

KRiley said...

I would love to be entered into the contest. I love historical fiction!

Tonya Dean said...

Looks good!!

Sarah E said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!

+2 I follow on Google Reader.

+2 I tweeted: http://twitter.com/saemmerson/status/13609749284

familyhistree at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Aimee said...

I would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance.
+2 GFC Follower
+2 Tweet http://twitter.com/pixie13sweeps/status/13628223253


thaeter7 said...

I follow on google friends

Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

Would love to win this. I've heard such great things, both here and on other blogs. I've been a follower for a while (though I believe I've been more of a lurker than active participant...but I love this blog all the same!)

histficchick at gmail dot com

Sandra K321 said...

I love books from this time period. I know about the witchcraft accusations from the Salem period in our country (loved my tour of Salem) but really haven't read anything about witchcraft in England. This sounds like a very well done historical fiction that I would love to read.

Elise said...

I am a Catholic and historical fiction/non-fiction lover, so this book sounds like a must read. I have actually seen the book cover many times, but have never read the premise until I came upon your site. I know way back in the day when people had special abilities like healing the sick, they were deemed as witches. I'm curious to see how this book plays out. Thanks for the review.
caliblue7 at gmail dot com

Benita said...

This book sounds fabulous. I tried to put myself in the protagonist's place. I think it is hard not to use powers to help friends and family. I probably would have done the same. I'd love to find out what happens!


Sheila Deeth said...

Oh wow. As a Catholic Protestant growing up in England I was always fascinated by this period of history, and the story sounds great. Hope to read this sometime.

sdeeth at msn dot com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I've always been interested in the Salem witchcraft trials. For a great nonfiction pairing, try Mark Aronson's Witch Hunt.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a fascinating look at the impact of the rise of Protestantismm in England. I didn't know that Catholics were thought of as witches. Please enter me in the giveway for the 7 books.


brokenteepee said...

I have read many excellent reviews of this book and would love to read it myself.
thank you

Anonymous said...

Like you mentioned, this book sounds like a good mix of real facts from the time period and a very intereting story. I am curious to see what she does with her powers. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Have heard nothing but good things about this book. Am a big fan of your blog and reveiws. Awesome giveaway.


Thoughts from an Evil Overlord

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.