Loosely based on real events, The Witchfinder’s Sister is an atmospherical drama following Alice on her return to the home of her childhood after her husband is accidentally killed. She arrives to find things have changed dramatically, and quickly learns of her brother’s work finding and questioning witches. Alice does her best to thwart Matthew, and to help his powerless victims, but he won’t be stopped. All Alice can do is watch and wonder just how far he will go.
This story is heavy and harrowing. The plot develops slowly which, instead of being boring, adds to the tense atmosphere and realism. The most disturbing thing is that Matthew Hopkins did exist and, though this story is fictional, it is based around truth, with real victims and well documented trials.
I enjoyed the writing style. The language used is old-fashioned but very readable, and Beth Underdown sets the cold and harsh atmosphere magnificently. My only area of criticism is in Alice’s character, because I found her weak and repetitive. Some allowance can be made for her weakness, because in that day and age there would have been very little she could really do. She had little-to-no influence over the men, so the other women’s expectation that she could stop her brother was unfair. However, she was also so naïve and refused to believe anything anyone said against her family, even when it was staring her in the face. This was annoying.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The atmosphere and tension were near perfection in this story and the general content is fascinating, but other elements could have been better.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.