The Black Hours

I have always hated hearing people bleat on about how life is not fair, because in my mind I don’t understand what right they have to expect it to be so. However, throughout The Black Hours I kept being reminded of just how unfair life was for those suspected of witchcraft.

At the beginning of this story we meet Alice Pendle and her grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Prentice, who provide midwifery services to the women of the Coggeshall as well as making up herbal remedies to help those who are sick. This way of life appears to be common practice at that time but when things go wrong there are those who, as some form of revenge, call in help from outside to rid the village of those suddenly perceived as witches.

Matthew Hopkins tackles his role as Witchfinder General with a passionate almost evangelical zeal and there is never even the faintest waver in his belief that he could in any way be wrong in what is he doing.

Following a successful hanging of five witches at Halstead he arrives in Coggeshall and sets to work immediately.  I found him a vain and arrogant man, deluded in the way his went about his business. There was nothing fair about his treatment of Alice and Maggie, who were brutalised and battered into submission. He obtained ‘evidence’ by twisting people’s words and this supposed man of God tricked and lied his way into gaining confessions.

I could go on and on but I hope you get the picture that this was a real page-turner of a book for me. Fantastically well researched and superbly written I thoroughly enjoyed, if that can be the right word, what was at times a harrowing and heart-breaking story. Highly recommended to all lovers of historical fiction and anyone looking for a terrific read. Oh, and I should add, it has the most satisfying ending.

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10 Responses to #Bookreview for The Black Hours by Alison Williams @AlisonW_Editor #historical #fiction
  1. Great review, G and it sounds like a cracking read 😀

  2. I have to agree. This is an absolutely terrific book. (And a great review too!)

  3. Thank you so much for such a lovely review, Georgia – you cheered up my Monday morning 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.

    • You’re welcome Alison, and thank you for writing it! I’ve never been that keen on history, but finding books like yours that bring it alive really sparks my interest. 🙂

  4. Sounds intriguing Georgia. I’ve always been fascinated with the history of accused witches, especially after discovering that the place I’ve lived near for many years – Bideford in Devon – is famous for the last hanging of witches in England, back in 1682. Then, to see that this book is set in Coggeshall, where hubby’s ancestors lived, it’s even more compelling! I look forward to reading it.

  5. I have to say this book sounds absolutely compelling, having an interest myself in the accused and those that lived in fear of being accused. Mathew Hopkins sounds equally compelling and downright awful. So glad the ending is satisfying. Now, if he could just be reincarnated as a woman during that time… 🙂

    • Thanks for reading Skilbey. I have to say I get really wound up whenever someone is falsely accused so this book pressed all my buttons! The characters are terrifically written though, it’s a gem 🙂


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