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The Witching Tide: The powerful and gripping debut novel for readers of Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel

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The problem with being trapped in her silence was that we were also trapped within her repetitive thoughts and worries. I think the story would have benefited from a second POV character. The accused women deny their charges, but no one believes them. The witch trials are a sham. The scales of justice are already tipped, the women indicted on manufactured evidence and false charges by Makepeace, the searchers and vindictive neighbours looking for plausible explanations for illness, death and misfortune. As she had feared, Martha, too, is eventually arrested.

The Witching Tide: The powerful and gripping debut novel for The Witching Tide: The powerful and gripping debut novel for

Initially, Martha is pressed into service as an inspector, forced to search the accused women for identifying “witch’s marks.” However, when the friend who helped her deliver the baby that died is charged with witchcraft and Martha isn’t, she struggles with an inner turmoil over her own role in the incident and why she wasn’t implicated. Despite her desire to confess her own guilt, she is unable to express herself adequately and is forced to help condemn people she knows are innocent.

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MM: It was more that she came to me. Quite often characters just kind of arrive that way: like being shown a snapshot of a character. I saw Martha standing in her garden in her physic garden. I could see that she was an older woman, and I could see she loved her plants. Set in the 17th century, The Witching Tide set in a sleepy coastal village in East Anglia, follows Martha the village midwife and herbal healer who is also mute, and the upheaval of the village when a witchfinder arrives on the hunt for witches leaving very few of the local women safe from his hunting. Having read a few books within this genre, I felt the Witching Tide bought a compelling story that will certainly draw on your heartstrings, invoke anger and sadness in equal parts, and is historically accurate in the persecution methods of 17th century witchfinders. As well as highlighting how the patriarchy played a big part in the historical persecution of women as witches. I recommend if this genre of books is your kind of thing.

The Witching Tide: The powerful and gripping debut novel for

An angry, powerful book seething with love and outrage for a community too often stereotyped or ignored. An immersive and deeply moving novel inspired by true events, The Witching Tide breathes new life into history whilst holding up a mirror to the world we live in now. A story of loyalty and betrayal, fear and obsession, the impact of misogyny and the power of resistance, it is a magnificent debut from a striking new literary voice.

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Powerless to protest, Martha is enlisted to search the accused women for “devil’s marks.” She is caught between suspicion and betrayal; between shielding herself or condemning the women of the village. In desperation, she revives a wax witching doll that belonged to her mother, in the hope that it will bring protection. But the doll’s true powers are unknowable, Martha harbors a terrible secret, and the gallows are looming… Certainly, in the world today, we’re seeing polarities of views, and we can draw other similarities with the witch hunts, Margaret says. 'The interest in witch trials and the paradigm of the witch has been gathering momentum over the past few years,' she says. Indeed, her book has been placed in the genre of ‘witch lit’. But this category is much more than sinister figures dancing around a cauldron, she says. 'There’s a desire to understand what went on in those witch trials, why women were singled out in the way they were.

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