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The Bewitching

Jill Dawson

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A dazzling, shocking novel that speaks to our times, drawing on the 16th-century case of the witches of Warboys.


Paula Hawkins

The Times

Mail on Sunday

From the award-winning author of The Language of Birds and The Crime Writer, a chilling tale of a witch-hunt

Alice Samuel might be old and sharp-tongued, but she's no fool. Visiting her new neighbours in her Fenland village, she finds Squire Throckmorton's family troubled and, she suspects, not as God-fearing as they seem. Yet when one of the daughters accuses her of witchcraft, Alice has no idea of the danger she is in or how quickly matters will escalate.

The Throckmortons' maid Martha, uneasy herself about strange goings-on in the household, is reluctant to believe that Alice is a witch. But as the entire village gets swept up in the frenzied persecution of one of their own, she struggles to find a voice . . .


'A skilful storyteller'
Hilary Mantel

'A magnificent writer'
Cathy Rentzenbrink

'A spark fires throughout Dawson's work'

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Praise for The Bewitching

  • Set in the 16th century, The Bewitching by Jill Dawson promises a powerful and chilling tale of witchcraft and persecution from one of our most skilful and absorbing storytellers. - Daily Mail

  • Novels about witch-hunts are not rare beasts, but The Bewitching, which is based on the true story of the witches of Warboys, is a particularly fine example. Tension builds, events spiral out of control and it builds to a devastating finale. - The Times

  • Alice, demonised for being outspoken, is a timeless female archetype, rendered with great skill by Dawson . . . a terrific piece of storytelling, immersed in its period but rich in resonance for the Twitter generation. - Mail on Sunday

  • Jill Dawson enters thoroughly into her characters' religious world view, while giving a meaningful glance at the issues of today . . . she colours in the crude woodcut of history with passionate emotions and plausible motivations . . . And what more easy way to stifle an obstreperous woman's accusations than to accuse her first? Dawson's vivid retelling doesn't leave us with any comforting notion that human nature has advanced much. - Spectator

  • In this literary page-turner, Jill Dawson brings vividly to the page the chilling tale of the witches of Warboys . . . a compulsive and thought-provoking account of guilt and persecution.

  • This well-researched historical novel weaves history and literary fiction to powerful, chilling effect. - Daily Express

  • [A] finely tuned tale about power and persecution. - i

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Jill Dawson

Jill Dawson was born in Durham. She is the author of three novels: Trick of the Light, Magpie and Fred & Edie, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize and translated into several languages. She is also an award-winning poet and has edited five anthologies, including Wild Ways: New Stories about Women on the Road (co-edited with Margo Daly), The Virago Book of Wicked Verse and the recent Gas and Air: Tales of Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond. She taught at Amherst College and is currently the Creative Writing Fellow at University of East Anglia in Norwich. She lives in the Fens with her partner and two sons.

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