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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown, read by Lucy Brownhill and Roy McMillan.

It's 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?

©2017 Beth Underdown (P)2017 Penguin Audio Books

Critic Reviews

"Vivid and terrifying." (Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train)
"A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel." (Kate Hamer)
"Anyone who liked Cecilia Ekback's Wolf Winter is going to love this.... [It's] about tiny braveries and small courage...a real David and Goliath story, but far less straightforward." (Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street)
"A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel. The Witchfinder's Sister is a gripping exploration of the dark and twisted roots of seventeenth-century paranoia." (Ian McGuire, author of The North Water)
"Beth Underdown grips us from the outset and won't let go...at once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller." (Patrick Gale, author of Notes from an Exhibition)
"Beth Underdown cleverly creates a compelling atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia.... Even from the distance of nearly four hundred years, her Matthew Hopkins is a genuinely frightening monster." (Kate Riordan, author of The Girl in the Photograph)
"Superb: dark, terrifying and utterly compelling." (Tracy Borman)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Rather long .

Interesting but it could have been two hours shorter. ( And could almost everyone read in 1647 ? )

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good read!

A highly atmospheric historical drama about the witch trials in England, based on the practices of a true witch hunter in the mid 1600's.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ms
  • 03-26-17

Great Read

Well worth a read, clever and believable account of a chilling time in history showing how quickly human beings can turn against themselves. Excellent Narrator.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • giselleleah
  • 03-21-17

Brilliant

Just couldn't stop listening. Great research went into this book. Read beautifully . Best book I have listened to in ages.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • R. J. Gladden
  • 04-11-17

Expertly researched!

This is a fantastic read if a somewhat slow burner. I was so glad I stayed with it as it is intensely compelling from half way through the book. Based heavily on true, if shameful, events in English history, The Witchfinders Sister is deeply moving and demonstrates the lack of justice available for women during the 17th Century.

However, this is not a historical tract but a novel and Beth Underdown doesn't fail in her duty to portray all the hallmarks necessary in hooking the reader in and telling a story whilst staying true to the historical research. Not easy to do but expertly accomplished.

The narrator, Lucy Brownhill, does a magnificent job in telling the story. I love her voice and could listen to it all day.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jacqueline
  • 03-30-17

An gripping read/listen!

I was gripped from start to finish. Living locally to many of the places discussed in the book, I have a fascination as to how something so remarkably wrong, was allowed to happen, and how one man, influenced son many. I have researched the true story behind this tale, and find this mixture of fact and fiction intriguing! The imagination behind this book marks this book out as one of the most interesting historical fiction novels I have read.
The performances only enhance this book, and bring each character alive making them truly believable.
Anybody who enjoys historical fiction, will be gripped to this book. It's dark subject matter is a refreshing change and so much more interesting that the usual 'Royal' subject matter of the genre.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan W.
  • 03-14-17

Superb debut novel!

Would you listen to The Witchfinder's Sister again? Why?

This book was an absolutely fantastic read/listen, but I only read a book once. Period.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I would not want to differentiate between the characters, they were all excellently written and portrayed with an obvious depth of historical research and resultant understanding of the social mores of mid-seventeenth century England.

Have you listened to any of Lucy Brownhill and Roy McMillan ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not aware of listening to these readers before but both were excellent.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Much of the book was very moving. The powerlessness and victimisation of women due to the bigotry and ignorance current at the time upset me. Nothing has changed in some parts of the world - that thought made me sad too.

Any additional comments?

A compelling read, the reader is carried along on a whirlwind journey deep into one of the least pleasant chapters of British history. I liked the subtle reference to how all this was about to be repeated in the New World!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • montyrom@btinternet.com
  • 06-29-17

totally believable, well read and written.

I loved this one, with facts woven into fiction, this booked gripped me from the start. it's an insight to a dark time in the civil wars. a snapshot of how fear can grip folk.
first time I have given 5 stars for all aspects of a book or audible. gently read and the end was sensible and was not a let down.
the book made me revisit manningtree and mistley and even take a drink in the thorn...
will now await more audibles from this author and reader.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christine Peachey-Pace
  • 06-10-17

loved it

loved it, great story. my first audio book and I was enthralled with it x

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Di D
  • 04-09-18

Excellent listen

Really enjoyed this story. Full of local interest- I wonder if I would of been one of Matthew Hopkins victims .
Left worrying about the heroine and her future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lorna
  • 07-25-17

Very enjoyable

This isn't really my normal sort of book but having enjoyed a couple of Karen Maitland books I thought I'd give it a go, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator is fantastic and her voice is perfect for this type of story, I'll certainly follow her on to any other books she does.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Patricia White
  • 04-10-17

A little disappointing

I found this book gripping at times but as it reached a climax it seemed to run out of steam and come to a rapid conclusion - I did wonder whether a section had been cut out. More could have been made to "shock" at the mention what Alice and Grace are going to encounter next, but instead comes across as incidential, which for me left it a little flat.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful