Book Review: The Witch Finder’s Sister

The Witch Finder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

Dates Read: 29/01/2021-09/02/2021

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve taken a while since finishing this one to actually write my review because, if I’m honest, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it. I know and understand that this was an important period in the history of our country, and it feels a little strange knowing that the central character, Matthew Hopkins, really existed and was instrumental in the deaths of so many named in the book. These were real people, and telling their stories is important, however, this book is for the most part a fictional account.

I think I have a natural bias against the prose and linguistic style used here – it just feels old fashioned and bloated and frankly irritates me and maybe that’s my problem. The book is narrated from the point of view of Matthew’s (imagined) sister who, until the final embers of the book, is basically a damp squib. I get that emancipation just wasn’t a thing, but while she purports to react horrifically to the witch hunts, she doesn’t actually seem to do anything, or at least anything effective.

I know, it’s probably the context but I found this read in many places rather tedious and flabby, it could have done with a good edit. There are Americanisms littered throughout which is, more than a bit annoying. There were some characters I enjoyed and would have liked to have seen more of, such as Bridget and Matthew’s mother, hence it gets 2 stars but I struggled to finish this if I’m honest.

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