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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Sharratt, Mary: Daughters of the Witching Hill

  Amazon  

4.5 stars

In her novel Daughters of the Witching Hill Mary Sharratt imagines the story behind a real-life drama, the 1612 Lancashire witch trials. Her major characters come from the pages of a court clerk's account of the proceedings. Bess Southerns, also called Demdike, is a "blesser," who calls upon the now outlawed Catholic rites and folk remedies of her childhood to comfort and care for the sick of Pendle Forest. Her vocation is dangerous in a world in which one's neighbors are quick to cry "witch," and when an accusation is too often tantamount to a conviction. Demdike has a son and daughter and numerous grandchildren, among them Alizon, on whom much of the story centers. Daughters of the Witching Hill follows Demdike's career through the good times, when her powers were appreciated enough to keep food on the table, and the worse.

The world Sharratt describes--and she makes it a breathing thing--is frightening even when things are going reasonably well. Anti-papism has driven priests underground, what passes for justice is risible, and human compassion is in short supply. But the last quarter of the book in particular makes for difficult reading, like watching a nightmare. And it goes on for a while, the details fully explored, so one's discomfort is extended. Sharratt's book is, in short, an excellent, well-researched (as far as I can see), beautifully-written account of horrible events that are, unfortunately, historical. I am quite sure that some images from the latter part of the book will stick with me indefinitely. Certainly I'll never think of witch trials in quite the same way again.

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