Review of THE VANISHING WITCH  By Karen Maitland


Published by Headline Review in paperback, trade paperback and hardback.

Hardback ISBN: 9781472215000

I am very glad to be able to say that Karen Maitland is a good friend. Still, this is not a log-rolling exercise.

I have a very simple policy when it comes to books. I do not like to give positive reviews to books I personally did not enjoy. Equally, the fact that I dislike a book is not a reason to believe that others would not be delighted by it. Different strokes for different folks is particularly true when it comes to books, because our own enjoyment of a book is entirely subjective. So, if I really dislike a book, I won’t review it.

However, this book is one I find it easy to rave about.

It begins with the life of a punter on the River Witham, a man called Gunter. From there it goes to look at a wealthy man and his comfortable existence in Lincoln, considering his children, his wife, describing his business and how his business is affected by thefts of his goods. And then a woman arrives in town, a young widow called Catlin.

You are taken, as the reader, into their world with a wonderful ease that brings Lincoln to life at the turbulent times of the Peasant’s Revolt. The story moves from one character’s point of view to another with a fluid logic that leads the reader on a journey through the internal thoughts and feelings of all the protagonists, and the whole time the darker themes develop. There is a real sense of growing intimidation and lurking malevolence in the story that is unsettling, but utterly enthralling. You cannot put the book down until the last pages, and when you do, the story remains imprinted on your memory.

This is a story of violence and cruelty which is interwoven at every stage with the power of magic and the supernatural. Karen Maitland has a fabulous skill, bringing to life the fears and superstitions of a bygone age, and in this story she has excelled herself.

I thoroughly recommend this book.

5 Responses to “Review of THE VANISHING WITCH  By Karen Maitland”
  1. Jack Eason says:

    Nice to see a positive review Michael. ;)


  2. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Michael’s latest review. :)


  3. MoldiOldi says:

    Thank you for the review and recommendation. This sounds very intriguing and worth reading. I will check it out.


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