Saturday, 17 November 2012

Review - The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson

The Daylight Gate

Book Blurb

This is Lancashire. This is Pendle. This is witch country.
A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by local magistrate, Roger Nowell. Is this a witches' Sabbat?
Two notorious Lancashire witches are already in Lancaster Castle waiting trial. Why is the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter defending them? And why is she among the group of thirteen on Pendle Hill?
Elsewhere, a starved, abused child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter, recently returned from France, is widely rumoured to be heading for Lancashire. But who will offer him sanctuary? And how quickly can he be caught?
This is the reign of James I, a Protestant King with an obsession: to rid his realm of twin evils, witchcraft and Catholicism, at any price...

My Thoughts

Reminiscent of Robert Neil's "Mist Over Pendle" - The Daylight Gate seeks to add mischief and mayhem to the well know history surrounding the Lancashire Witches. Dark and dirty , the seamier side of life in the shadow of Pendle Hill is imagined in vivid detail and the lives of the unfortunate women castigated for witchcraft is explored in graphic and torturous detail.

Whilst the story pulls no punches and isn't for the faint hearted, I found that I was gripped from the beginning.

In this 400th anniversary year of The Pendle Witch Trial, this novella adds nothing new to the story but given the advantage of focusing the story on the horrible fascination of supposed witchcraft, it does suffuse the legend with a certain amount of grim horror. 


  1. I used to love reading witch stories, maybe it is time to reacquaint?


    1. Hi Lainy - This might be a good one to try - its only just over 190 pages ...:)


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa and I appreciate your interest.