Before Salem, there was Manningtree. . . .
This summer, my brother Matthew set himself to killing women, but without ever once breaking the law.
Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew s soul.
There is a new darkness in the town, too frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he s become, Alice is desperate to intervene and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.
Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother s brutal mission and is drawn into the Hopkins family s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.
Inspired by the real-life story of notorious Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with harrowing storytelling for a truly haunting reading experience.
Published: 2nd March 2017
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Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Its not often that I pick up a historical novel and on those occasions when I do I seem to strike gold and this book is no exception to that. I love a good witch story and what makes this even more interesting is the fact that it is based on an actual person, Matthew Hopkins really existed and that really fascinated me. What also drew me in was the fact that nearly every location that is mentioned in this book I have visited.
I liked the fact that this story did not concentrate on Matthew himself but followed the story of his sister. We followed her story with growing up with him, arriving on his doorstep after disaster strikes, learning to live with him and wanting her to discover who her brother really is.
After reading book I spent several hours researching the real Matthew Hopkins, a fascinating but horrible character in history.