The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It's a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust? The dour wool merchant? His impulsive son? The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes? Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones?
And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it's time to fight back, it's all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.
My thanks to bookbridgr for sending me a review copy of this book.
I have always had an interest in the idea of witches and the incredible lengths people used to go to in order to find and prevent witchcraft;
"If a witch tries to bewitch you, spit on her so that the spittle lands between her eyes. that will break the spell." (quote from The Vanishing Witch, Karen Maitland)
The Vanishing Witch tells a story from several viewpoints, including a ghost! Each character is alluring and interesting to read on their own, but when put together the reader is left with a book rich in murder, betrayal, anger, fear and conspiracy that is addictive to read.
Set in the backdrop of a poor and struggling Lincoln the characters are each trying to make the most of what is left to them, whether it be a slowly drowning business, the saving of a long dead marriage or the irrespirable temptation of a lover. Robert, a proud and respected man finds himself the centrepiece between a suspicious son, an alluring woman he cannot ignore and a step-daughter so strange and whimsical that trouble travels with her.
For me the most intriguing character and the one I found the most perplexing. the ghost gives the definition to people-watching!
I found I was asking who is this person? Why are they watching the other characters?
The book is well written and despite the presence of several story arcs, is easy to follow as the book progresses.
Maitland has created a book that spans a story of surprises and characters that keeps you guessing until the drama packed end!