Monday, July 27, 2015
The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland
The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It's a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust? The dour wool merchant? His impulsive son? The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes? Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones? And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it's time to fight back, it's all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.
Karen Maitland has the talent to pluck you from your comfy armchair and plop you right into the middle ages with such detail you can almost smell the tanner's vats (although thankfully you can't). While I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Owl Killers or Company of Liars, it still kept me reading. I like books that have characters who are flawed - books with "perfect" characters tend to be boring. There are only a few in here that I would actually root for, but most who met their end, although they could be awful people, didn't deserve such a fate. And there were a few ARC reveals that I saw coming - but a major one I totally missed. All in all a very long book but still enjoyable, even if you've predicted the ending.