Local author Jill Dawson returns to Ely with The Bewitching, a dazzling, shocking novel of witchcraft and persecution that speaks to our times.
Alice Samuel might be old and sharp-tongued, but she’s no fool. Visiting her new neighbours in her Fenland village, she suspects Squire Throckmorton’s household is not as God-fearing as it seems and finds the children troubled. Yet when one of the daughters accuses her of witchcraft, Alice has no inkling of how quickly matters will escalate and fails to grasp the danger she is in. As evidence mounts against Alice, soon the entire village is swept up in the frenzied persecution of one of their own community.
The Bewitching explores the 16th-century case of the witches of Warboys, a neglected episode of English history, to powerful effect. It vividly conveys the brutal tribalism that can erupt in a closed society and how victims can be made to believe in their own wickedness.
Jill Dawson is the author of several novels including The Crime Writer, which won the East Anglian Book of the Year, and The Language of Birds. An award-winning poet, she has also edited several poetry and short story anthologies.