His Last Witch

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His Last Witch

Last Free Dates: 8th Nov 17 to 12th Nov 17
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...Readers of women’s fiction may enjoy it, as may those who enjoy Saw-style horror for the details of Annie’s captivity....

Sally Matthews’ fear of bridges reached a point where she has to confront it. With the help of a therapist and her friends, she discovers that in her past life she was Annie Hobbs, the last woman named as a witch by Britain’s notorious and corrupt Witchfinder-General Matthew Hopkins…

The start and ending of the book were interesting, but I found myself losing interest in the middle. Sally Matthews’ story is fascinating. Annie Hobbs spends most of it a captive, with little agency, making it hard to invest in her as a character.

When I find that several of the chapters about Annie Hobbs could have been replaced with one sentence “Character was tortured and raped” without altering the narrative or affecting the plot at all, it does seem that the details are there more for purient interest or reader titilation than plot progression. The first time I read it, I actually skimmed several of those chapters to get to the end, because I was waiting for something to happen. On a re-read I read the entire thing, but it didn’t add anything to the story.

Matthew Hopkins was not one of England’s shining lights – the self-appointed Withfinder General did really exist, he’s been featured in several novels and fictional works, and this book does follow one of the many historically popular myths about his disgrace and death.

It’s a two/three. Professionally written with a good use of language, but several of what should have been then tensest chapters actually dragged, slowing the narrative. It is a common problem with books in first person from the point of view of an imprisoned character, as there is very little they can do.

Readers of women’s fiction may enjoy it, as may those who enjoy Saw-style horror for the details of Annie’s captivity. It is very hard to recommend an audience for this because it has such distinctively different feelings as the story progresses.

Rating: 3
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