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witches

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Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser

Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser

Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.

Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.

The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?

Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

Sarah Stone and her half-brother work with Shakespeare in his company. They both dabble in the occult and their mother taught them witchcraft. That becomes a problem after one player in the company accuses Sarah of being a witch. On the eve of the premiere of Macbeth, Shakespeare asks Sarah to consult the spirits about the play. Sarah is afraid about what she sees and asks Shakespeare not to go through with Macbeth, but he refuses.

This turned out to be different from what I was expecting not that it was a bad thing. It has to be mentioned that there is incest which might be a problem for some.

I don’t really know what to say without giving too much away…

I liked the characters and the writing. There are mystery, witchcraft, and suspense.

I enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author.

3,5 stars

Published: Sam Grosser Books (March 20, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Historical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.

Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.

Samantha has an Honours Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair, and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 25
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan

Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks

Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, April 15
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Coffee and Ink

reviews

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

‘Do you believe in the devil? Not so long ago I too would have scoffed. Now – now I am not so sure.’

1645. Alice Hopkins returns in disgrace, husbandless and pregnant, to her brother Matthew’s house in the small Essex town of Manningtree.

When she left, Matthew was an awkward boy, bullied for the scars that disfigure his face. But the brother Alice has come back to is like a different person. Now Matthew has powerful friends, and mysterious business that keeps him out late into the night. Then the rumours begin: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which Matthew is gathering women’s names.

Just how far will Matthew’s obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan? (publisher)

After the death of her husband, Alice Hopkins has no other choice than to return to her childhood home in Manningtree to live with her brother Matthew. But a lot has happened there while she was away and her brother has changed. They haven’t been in contact for years and Matthew didn’t approve her choice of husband and still hasn’t forgiven her.

Little by little Alice discovers that it is Matthew who is behind hunting women and accusing them of witchcraft. But she is horrified when she realizes that Matthew wants her to join him in the quest to find witches.

The first part of the book was really slow and boring so I was thinking about quitting but I still wanted to know how it ends. I mean all the action was in the latter half of the book.

I wasn’t huge fan of Alice and just didn’t connect with her. I just wished she had more backbone. She was too easily influenced by what others think and would agree with them. Then someone else says this and then she agrees with them and so on. She did got little better at the end and I was happy about the ending. I didn’t get why she would tell Matthew about her pregnancy. It probably wouldn’t have made him any warmer or anything but still.

Matthew well… he had his reasons sort of… He is evil person who truly believes in the existence of witches. He really does believe he is doing the right thing. He is not a nice person, I’ll just leave it there.

I have to say I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would but everyone else seems to love this so what do I know. But I was just bored and not scared.

2,5/5

Published: Viking (March 16, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2) by Deborah Harkness

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library,she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers… (Goodreads)

The book starts where the previous one left and Diana and Matthew lands on Elizabethan England. As a historian Diana is thrilled but finds herself lost even with her knowledge of that time. Everyone can tell from her speech and manners that she isn’t from around, and it causes curiosity. Matthew’s friends ─ the infamous School of Night that includes few well-known persons ─ tries to teach her the proper manners and speech and they also find a witch to train her, while trying to find the missing copy of Ashmole 782.

I loved A Discovery of Witches and I’m happy that the second book lived up to it! There was lot less DNA stuff in it which was relief but also less vampire, daemon, witch – mythology which was a shame.

We learn quite a bit more about Matthew and his past which was interesting. We really get to know him more and we finally meet his father, Philippe. I really wish there would be more of him! Not to mention more father-son scenes.

Diana learns more about witchcraft and her ability to control it. I loved seeing her growing more confident both with her magic and with her relationship with Matthew.

I really wish there will be more Gallowglass, Marcus and Pierre. I can’t help myself! I thought the relationship Marcus and Phoebe moved little too quick and we didn’t meet them long enough to see that grow.

I love the way Harkness manages to involve both vampires and historical things and to make it feel natural. I love these books and can’t wait for the next book!

5/5
Published: Headline (2012)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 580
Source: library

reviews

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. (Goodreads)

The book starts when Diana Bishop discovers a bewitched manuscript,called Ashmole 782, in a library at Oxford. It has been lost for centuries and soon all kind of witches, daemons and vampires are trying to get it. One of them is Matthew Clairmont, a scientist who is also vampire.
Diana is from a powerful family of witches but after her parents’ death she has refused to use her powers. But when things starts to take dangerous turn she learns that she can’t ignore her heritage anymore.

Book is told from Diane’s point of view and it worked here. She’s strong, brave, intelligent and she’s historian. What’s not to like? It was interesting to see how she grew during the book, fing herself again and learning to control her powers.

Matthew is over 1000 year old vampire who takes interest in Diana. At first he is just looking for Ashmole 782 but soon finds that he can’t keep her out of his thoughts. But vampires and witches aren’t supposed to be together as they are about to find out. I liked Matthew and the chemistry between him and Diane. Sure he had this medieval thing about protecting women and stuff but I thought he was still quite adorable.

There was quite a lot talking about DNA and alchemy and I have to say that it went way over my head. But it was still interesting and it didn’t made m enjoy it any less.

And there was a finnish witch called Satu Järvinen :) That doesn’t happen often and just made me happy. Of course she was one of the bad guys but you can’t have it all, can you? She kinda leaves a lasting impression on Diane, not to mention traumas.

I really liked this book! I liked the first half book better with Matthew and Diane getting to know eachother. In later part things started to move much faster and while it was fun it didn’t feel the same.

A word of warning: the books has much detailed telling about things. How wine or food tasted and or smelled and their reactions to it. So if you’re not into that kind of thing you should be warned.

4,5/5
Published: Viking (2011)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 579
Source: library

reviews

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic.

When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights. (Goodreads)

The book is told through the eyes of two persons: Bess (first half) and Alizon (second half). While I liked it told from first person narrative but the characters didn’t come alive to me. You can see that the autohor has done her research but it also slows done the book with going on , and on, and on about their daily lives. I’ve never heard of the Pendle witches before and I’d like to hear more about the actual trials.

I don’t know much about that time period and it was interesting to read about common people of that time but I also think that it slowed down the book a little particularly in the beginning.

3/5
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2010)
Format: Hardback
Pages: 352
Source: won at giveaway