On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to ...1682
17 May 2022
My thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to the tour
A tale as old as time. A spirit that has never rested.
As a love affair comes to an end, and with it her dreams for her future, artist Selena needs a retreat. The picture-postcard Sloe Cottage in the Somerset village of Ashcombe promises to be the perfect place to forget her problems, and Selena settles into her new home as spring arrives. But it isn’t long before Selena hears the past whispering to her. Sloe Cottage is keeping secrets which refuse to stay hidden.
Grace Cotter longs for nothing more than a husband and family of her own. Content enough with her work on the farm, looking after her father, and learning the secrets of her grandmother Bett’s healing hands, nevertheless Grace still hopes for love. But these are dangerous times for dreamers, and rumours and gossip can be deadly. One mis-move and Grace’s fate looks set…
Separated by three hundred years, two women are drawn together by a home bathed in blood and magic. Grace Cotter’s spirit needs to rest, and only Selena can help her now.
📖 My Review..
Selina finds that taking refuge at Sloe Cottage in the heart of Somerset is just the place she needs to get over a disastrous love affair. The glorious countryside around the cottage proves to be the perfect inspiration for Selina's paintings which capture the eerie nature of both the cottage and the surrounding landscape. That there is a ghostly presence in the cottage is obvious from the start and as the story blends and weaves between past and present we get the story of Grace Cotter, a troubled young woman who, living in the seventeenth century, has unfinished business with Sloe Cottage and the village of Ashcombe.
The time-slip elements of the story work really well with neither one outshining the other. I felt equally at home with Selina at Sloe Cottage in the present day as I did at Slaugh Cottage with Grace in 1682 during a time when the country was gripped by witch fever and to be a woman alone was to invite scurrilous gossip and sly innuendo. The story is really rather special and so beautifully reminiscent of both time elements that I quite forgot the passage of time. I loved learning more about Selina's life at the cottage and could visualise her beautifully imaginative paintings as she brings time and place into wonderful context.
Beautifully written, with lovely historical detail, The Witch's Tree is a wonderful time-slip novel which shows that the passage of time doesn't always heal a troubled soul but by blending the shared experiences of two rather sad young women the author has created a wonderful bridge between the despair of past and hope for the present.
🍷Best Read with...a glass of Joely's mint lemonade and a slice of Mrs Harper's angel cake
About the Author
Elena Collins is the pen name of Judy Leigh. Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French Hens, A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.
Twitter @JudyLeighWrite #TheWitchsTree
@BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers @bookandtonic