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The Daylight Gate

by Jeanette Winterson

This is a powerful novella, its characters briefly drawn but fully alive. Comfortable aristocratic life contrasts with vicious poverty in the 17th century, religious beliefs clash in a turbulent era. At its heart are women and witches. The brutal cruelty with which they are pursued is palpable, the torture scenes especially hard to read. But I was really transported back in time, perhaps the witchcraft crept out through its pages.








Extract

She was aware of something at the door.
In the room making itself out of nothing piece by piece by piece formed a human shape. Feet, groin, chest, neck, head. The figure was dressed in gray. He wore no hat. He was short, handsome, deadly. Alice had seen him before. He gave a short bow. 'Mistress Nutter.'
Old Demdike had hidden her face. 'He has come for my Soul.'
The man opened his hand. His palm was covered in dark hair. He was holding a small clear glass bottle of blood. 'I have here the seal of our contract,' he said.

Parallels

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill
The Witch and her Soul by Christine Middleton
 

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