‘Did all women have something of the witch about them?’
Jane Chandler is an apprentice healer. From childhood, she and her mother have used herbs to cure the sick. But Jane will soon learn that her sheltered life in a small village is not safe from the troubles of the wider world.
From his father’s beatings to his uncle’s raging sermons, John Sharpe is beset by bad fortune. Fighting through personal tragedy, he finds his purpose: to become a witch-finder and save innocents from the scourge of witchcraft.
Inspired by true events, Widdershins tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them.
Widdershins was a book that took me by surprise in the best way possible. The start was a little bit slow for me and I had to get used to the writing style a little but soon enough I was totally hooked by this story. I thought it was really, really great!
The story is written in two points of view that take place over some years. We’ve got the POV of Jane, a young girl who’s an apprentice healer and John who eventually grows from a kind little boy to a callous witch-finder in this book. I probably liked John’s POV the most even though it’s quite shocking and even disturbing at times in the way he changes throughout the story. It was quite chilling, actually.
I really liked that this story was based on the real witch trials in Newcastle in 1650, although the characters were all fictional. I also thought the writing was wonderful. It took me really back to the 17th century. As someone who enjoys historical books above all else this was really great for me.
This story was as heartbreaking as it was suspenseful. I really had no idea of Jane would make it out of the witch trials alive or if John would be stopped at any point. I won’t give away any of these details but it sure was a page-turner, especially towards the end of the story. I had a hard time putting the book down because I just needed to know how everything would end. And trust me when I say the end will make you gasp out loud. I loved how unexpected that was.
Overall, Widdershins by Helen Steadman is a book I’d really recommend. The story will slowly but surely pull you in and not let go until you read the last page. I enjoyed it so very much!
Helen Steadman lives in the foothills of the North Pennines, and she particularly enjoys researching and writing about the history of the north east of England. Following her MA in creative writing at Manchester Met, Helen is now completing a PhD in English at the University of Aberdeen. When she s not studying or writing, Helen critiques, edits and proofreads other writers work, and she is a professional member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram