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The Witchfinder's Sister: A Novel by [Beth Underdown]
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The Witchfinder's Sister: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 899 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“Beth Underdown brilliantly meditates on the notion of a ‘witch hunt’ in this sharp work of historical fiction. It’s a prescient dystopia that should remind readers of The Handmaid’s Tale: A witch story to match the political climate of 2017.”Entertainment Weekly

“This is a novel for our times. . . . The Witchfinder’s Sister [lays] bare the visceral horror of what a witch hunt truly is.”The New York Times Book Review (Editors Choice)

“Entertaining and thought-provoking—with a valuable message for our own times.”—The Washington Post

“This satisfyingly suspenseful book should appeal strongly to readers who enjoyed other witchcraft-themed historical fiction; it will also attract those who like such novels as Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist that feature female protagonists resisting restrictive social roles to do a little sleuthing about the men in their lives. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Underdown’s well-researched, believable chronicle of persecution brings its era alive and will have readers rapt. . . . The Crucible is the obvious read-alike for this book. It also connects nicely with such dystopian classics as 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale.”Booklist

“A well-written dramatization of witch hunting in Europe during the seventeenth century . . . An entertaining yarn for readers who can’t get enough of the subject matter.”—Publishers Weekly

“Vivid and terrifying.”—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“Beth Underdown conjures a mesmerizing tale. The Witchfinder’s Sister will draw you into the terrifying world of England’s witch hunts. Read it late into the night, but don’t expect to sleep afterward!”—Paula Brackston, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

“Gripping . . . The Witchfinder’s Sister gives a long-forgotten historical tragedy a fresh, feminist spin. Beth Underdown, by providing us with this intelligent, sympathetic protagonist, allows us to see inside the hearts of both monster and victims while never letting us forget that throughout history women’s stories have too often been told by men.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

“A tense, surprising, and elegantly crafted novel.”—Ian McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of The North Water

“Bone-chilling and meticulously researched, The Witchfinder’s Sister brings home the true terror of a witch hunt.”—Mary Sharratt, award-winning author of Daughters of the Witching Hill

“A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel.”—Kate Hamer, author ofThe Girl in the Red Coat

About the Author

Beth Underdown is a graduate of the University of Manchester's Creative Writing MA, and she now teaches other aspiring writers. Her first novel, The Witchfinder's Sister, is based on the life of the 1640s witchfinder Matthew Hopkins. Beth's interest in seventeenth-century England was sparked by the work of her great-uncle David Underdown, one of that period's foremost  historians. She came across a brief mention of Matthew Hopkins while reading a book about midwifery, and her interest turned into an obsessive hunt for the elusive truth about this infamous killer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01JEMPGMQ
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ballantine Books (April 25, 2017)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ April 25, 2017
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 7153 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 316 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 899 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
899 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical novel set in MANNINGTREE, Essex, UK
By TripFiction on March 25, 2017
This is one of the most engaging historical novels I have ever read. A compelling story, beautifully portrayed: the lives and times of good-natured people being turned upside-down, exposing their vulnerability and flaws. Simultaneously sad and uplifting, appalling in its content and inspiring in its delivery, Underdown’s debut novel showcases her as a thorough researcher and a hugely talented writer.

Don’t be fooled by the content, though – the idea of the witchhunt itself is enough to unnerve some, and as a pagan myself I feel a great deal of empathy and sympathy for the suffering of those women. Yet Underdown manages to weave her story with raw human emotion and profound understanding of psychology – psychology of masses, of victims of their time, of ultra-religious minds, and of what today we understand as depression, schizophrenia, neurosis, anxiety, etc.

The portrayal of Essex as a county in trouble is also worthy of note. Essex: the earthly recipient of negative energies, not because of witchcraft itself, but because of the wrong ideas that people so easily and readily dispersed about those with whom they had an issue… I think Underdown understood this even from the first stages of her research – the dense energy that became trapped in a part of land because of such horrible actions against human beings, the loss of power of even local religious leaders themselves struggling against manipulation, fear, and in some cases, mass apathy.

I won’t say much about the story itself, given that Matthew Hopkins is a historical character with a documented life already out there for anyone to find, but mostly because in Underdown’s retelling, the characters are there to be discovered by the reader. I will say this, however: it takes a special kind of talent to turn dark history into a poetic piece of narrative, and Beth Underdown has that talent!
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Reviewed in the United States on January 27, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Pappa Dont Preach
1.0 out of 5 stars Writing by numbers - cashed in on Witchfinder General but had nothing interesting to say
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 8, 2018
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26 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, atmospheric, edge of your seat read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 29, 2017
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7 people found this helpful
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M Woodley
3.0 out of 5 stars Talented Writing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2018
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9 people found this helpful
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wife of rhtp
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but flawed.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 25, 2018
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5 people found this helpful
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Terry Day
4.0 out of 5 stars Good first novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2018
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3 people found this helpful
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