Good Friday, 1612. Pendle Hill, Lancashire. A mysterious gathering of 13 people is interrupted by local magistrate Roger Nowell. Is this a witches' Sabbat? Two notorious Lancashire witches are already in Lancaster Castle awaiting trial. Why is the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter defending them? And why is she among the group of 13 on Pendle Hill? Elsewhere, a starved, abused child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter, recently returned from France, is widely rumoured to be heading for Lancashire. But who will offer him sanctuary? And how quickly can he be caught? This is the reign of James I, a Protestant King with an obsession: to rid his realm of twin evils, witchcraft and Catholicism, at any price.
©2012 Jeanette Winterson (P)2012 Random House AudioGo
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I am so sad to say that this was a bit of a disappointment. I love Jeanette Winterson and after reading a few articles about this book, eagerly anticipated the Audible release. I had also previously listened to 'Why be happy when you could be normal?' (audiobook of the year without a doubt) so had high hopes for this. Winterson has researched and written this beautifully and I think the problem may be in the audio version. I found myself confusing the characters a little which obviously hindered full immersion into the story. The narration
was bearable but really lacked any sense of atmosphere, suspense or period feel. Maybe one that's better to read?
I had to 'read' this because the book group chose it. I found the story rather too gory for my taste, and the plot a little unsatisfying, if difficult to 'switch off'. But the narration was superb. I also had the book itself from the library but enjoyed much more listening to it read in Sian Thomas's voice.
"Nice to hear alternative voices"
It is so nice to hear a story written about the lives and experiences of essentially ordinary women from history; although it is tough to hear as violence and abuse against women is still ongoing and reinforces how far we have come and yet in some ways how little has changed. The narration was good and the story engaging and refreshing in the sense that it was not another story of powerful and privileged individuals. The length is just right with the ending offering some optimism through resistance. I will definitely be listening to more for this author.
"Winterson does it again"
This is wonderful. Darkly insightful. The narrator does it full justice. The whole flow of the book is something one would always expect of Jeanette. Although I was hesitant that this genre was something perhaps a little different, she always manages to pull it off. This is a fantastic read...A little bit looming in places so be careful listening to it as you're going to sleep!
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