Follow Rebecca West as puritan Matthew Hopkins moves to Manningtree and begins to root out the heresy and maleficium that “runs rampant” throughout the village. Based on historical events and people, the victims—and perpetrators—of the 1640’s English witch trials are brought to life as puritan fears and a civil war have taken hold of the country. Blakemore’s expressive prose and use of period vernacular transports you into every scene as if you’re there. Despite being historical fiction it can read as a modern story with it’s themes of misogyny and wealth inequality that are familiar issues of today. Highly recommend! — Connor Johnston
August 2021 Indie Next List
“A brilliant story set in 17th-century England about a women’s community at the margins of society and the constant dangers of religious fervor. Dark, unsettling, and highly entertaining.”
— Ulrika Moats, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX
England, 1643. Puritanical fervor has gripped the nation. And in Manningtree, a town depleted of men since the wars began, the hot terror of damnation burns in the hearts of women left to their own devices. Rebecca West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only occasionally by her infatuation with the handsome young clerk John Edes. But then a newcomer, who identifies himself as the Witchfinder General, arrives. A mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, Matthew Hopkins takes over the Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about what the women on the margins of this diminished community are up to. Dangerous rumors of covens, pacts, and bodily wants have begun to hang over women like Rebecca--and the future is as frightening as it is thrilling. Brimming with contemporary energy and resonance, The Manningtree Witches plunges its listeners into the fever and menace of the English witch trials, where suspicion, mistrust, and betrayal run amok as a nation's arrogant male institutions start to realize that the very people they've suppressed for so long may be about to rise up and claim their freedom.