The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six…
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 rumors 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?
This is my favorite kind of historical fiction book to read – a fictionalized story based on a real person and/or event. The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown is based on Matthew Hopkins, a witch hunter during the English Civil War.
This book is told from the perspective of Matthew’s sister Alice. She is returning home to Manningtree from London after her husband Joseph is tragically killed. When she left for London, after marrying Joseph, her relationship with Matthew was strained. She has a lot to tell him but is afraid he will be angry with her and compounding that with what she learns of Matthew’s life in Manningtree, it would seem she was right to worry about opening up to him.
This book tells of a harrowing time in history of a man who took it upon himself to find and execute witches. It also reads like a mystery as Alice discovers that what she thought to be true of Matthew’s childhood was not necessarily so. Beth Underdown did a great job taking us to the 17th century, a time period I honestly don’t read often. The more I read, the more I became invested in Alice’s story. I flew through the second half of the book to see how it would end. Of course history tells us it won’t be good, but I wanted to know what would become of Alice. The last sentence in the book was priceless! Now don’t cheat and flip to the back of the book to find out what it is, let the story unfold naturally and be surprised.
Thank you NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, and Beth Underdown for an opportunity to read and review this book.
My Rating: 4/5
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Publication Date: 4/25/2017
Pages: 336 (eBook)