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White Witch of Rosehall Paperback – January 1, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"de Lisser utilizes the conventions of a romantic entanglement to investigate and debate the wider socio-political issues within the novel that relate to colonialism, Jamaican identity and culture... The White Witch of Rosehall is a delightful read, written by an author who sought not only to entertain, but also to educate." Donna-Marie Tuck, Society for Caribbean Studies Newsletter"

About the Author

For some forty years Herbert de Lisser was editor of the Gleaner, the leading daily paper of the West Indies, and of the annual Planter's Punch. His influence on Jamaican thought and life were immeasurable. He was awarded the C.M.G. for his literary work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: B & W Pub; New Edition edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405085924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405085922
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 22, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To many Jamaicans, the White Witch of Rosehall is considered fact, not fiction.
Having travelled to Jamaica on numerous occasions and studied Carribean Studies, particularly plantocracy, I felt compelled to read this novel.
In my opinion, the book is a combination of both fact and fiction - with some folklore thrown in for good measure.
It is a fascinating read leading up to the slave rebellions in 1831 on the island, focusing on Rosehall Estate and it's mistress, Annie Palmer. Legend says Annie murdered all three of her husbands and that she was a witch.
If any truth lies in this novel, which unfortunately, I suspect it does, Annie Palmer was a wicked woman, who relished the physical and psychological torture of her plantation workers. Their eventual uprising, although disturbing (because similar events really happened during this time period) was gratifying.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has travelled to Jamaica, particularly Montego Bay - which is the closest city to the estate. Regardless of fact or fiction, the book offers an interesting slice of Jamaican history.
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Format: Hardcover
The Legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall is a lot of nonsense. It was completely debunked in the 1960s by well-known Jamaican historians such as Geoffrey Yates, Clinton V. Black, Glory Robertson and Freddie DuQuesnay, who is my Uncle's first cousin. The story currently being told by the Guides at Rose Hall Great House is simply rubbish, made-up and embellished to entertain and frighten gullible American tourists.

Annie Palmer was neither Irish nor French and she was not born in France or Haiti to mysterious unknown parents. Her real name was Ann Mary Patterson and she was born in 1802 at The Baulk Estate, her father's plantation near Lucea in Hanover Parish, Jamaica. Her family was both prominent and well-known in Jamaica. Her father was John Patterson, a Scottish planter, and her mother, Juliana, was the daughter of the Hon. William Brown of Kew Estate, Hanover, an aristocratic Anglo-Irish sugar planter who was the Custos and Chief Magistrate of Hanover Parish. His wife, Mary Kerr James, Ann's grandmother, was a descendant of one of the oldest English families in Jamaica who had arrived with Penn and Venables during the English Conquest of 1655.

Annie only had one husband, John Rose Palmer, Esq., the owner of Rose Hall and Palmyra Estates, St. James, who was a collateral ancestor of my Mother. They were married on the 27th of March, 1820, at Mount Pleasant Estate, St. James Parish, Jamaica, the home of Ann's mother and step-father. Following a honeymoon in England they returned to Jamaica and took up residence at Rose Hall Great House where they lived for almost eight years until John Rose Palmer died in 1827 at the age of 42. He was buried in the St. James Anglican Churchyard in Montego Bay by the Rev. Thomas Smith on the 5th of November, 1827.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
De Lisser did a magnificant job of capturing the story of Jamaica's infamous witch Annie Palmer. Based on a true story, which actually took place on the island of Jamaica. This was the most scariest book I've ever read being the fact that I am West-Indian, and I'm quite familiar with the story. De Lisser certainly set out to do what he intended; to scare the living daylights out of me. The White Witch of Rosehall is a brilliantly written fictional account of a true story which took place over a century ago on the beautiful island of Jamaica. De Lisser's captivating telling of this story will leaving you shaking and at the same time, it will leave you with a sense of knoweledge of part of the history of Jamaica's infamous Annie Palmer,"The White Witch of Rosehall."
For more on Annie Palmer you could visit Rosehall in Jamaica. Good Luck! Let me know how it goes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For such a small book, it took a long time to slug through it. Very predictable, even if you don't know the background story of Annie Palmer. It was bothersome that all the characters fall in love with somebody within two minutes of meeting them.Could have been so much better in terms of character development, descriptions and background details. From what I understand, a lot of the details are not historically accurate either.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the book, based on the life of a real woman, that fanned my first real interest in Jamaican history. Full of the contradictions of Jamaican 19th century life. A standard of Jamaican story telling that sets the scene of Jamaican plantation life in an elegantly dark way, just as the island was 'elegantly dark' in all it's blazing heat, beauty and the looming dangers of slave/master liaison and rebellion. My role in the dance production based on this book was the greatest of my dance career and I could 'feel the book' during every performance.

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Format: Paperback
As a Jamaican I must confess that this book is an excellent read from a local writer. I was actually amaze to learn that the book was first published in 1929.

This book neatly weaves fact and fiction together. Indeed there is a Rosehall estate. Annie Palmer was a slave owner in the dying moments of slavery in Jamaica and her 3 husbands all died under mysterious circumstances and she was found strangled in her bed room.

The book is set against the backdrop of the impending emancipation of the slaves in Jamaica in 1834 and the simmering under-current of revolt fueled by the belief in the slave population that emancipation was already granted from the UK and that it was the planters who was withholding their freedom. The 1831 slave uprising in Jamaica did in fact happened and out of those events came one of our national heroes - Sam Sharpe.

What this book does so well is to give some explanations (fictional though they may be) to the Annie Palmer legend and to her eventual death. It also paints her aptly as part witch, part slave overlord and all woman who despite her tough exterior wanted to be love unconditionally. In enters the dashing Mr. Rutherford. The books also shows that despite the curelty of slavery people of all class and colour in Jamaica in that time could love, be happy and in some way co-existed if not out of an uneasy pact.

The author allows the read to feel for each character and understands what drove each of the main character to the things they did be it out of love or sheer necessity. It was a great read for me and I would recommend it to all.
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