The Other Pendle Witch Trial

August 18th 2018 marked the 406th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials at Lancaster Castle in 1612. It is an anniversary which always causes me to pause, and one which I never forget. Growing up in Lancashire, I was captivated from a young age by tales of the Pendle witches. For a child there is, after all, something irresistibly and gruesomely fascinating about the likes of Old Demdike and Chattox doing their worst with magical misdeeds before meeting their own horrible fate. As I got older my interest developed into something altogether more academic, with a dissertation on the subject for my undergraduate degree at Lancaster University and, of course, several works of historical fiction since then! Over the years, the Pendle witches have been a big part of my intellectual and creative life.

Although perhaps not as widely known internationally as other later trials, notably those which occurred in Salem in 1692/3, there is no doubt in my mind that across the breadth of English history the 1612 trials have grown in stature and notoriety over the years. I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that 1612 has become the stuff of legend, or that it contributes enormously to the cultural and artistic life of the north of England, and of course to tourism and the economy. This activity and interest in the trials reached fever pitch in 2012 for the fourth centenary, with commemorative activities, events, sculptures and new works of literature and scholarship on the subject, and such activities have continued ever since; for example, this year there was a family weekend of events at Lancaster Castle.

What is less well-known, however, is that a second round of witch trials occurred in Pendle in 1634. In late 1633, a boy named Edmund Robinson gained local fame and notoriety as a witch-finder. It seems that upon returning home later than expected one day in early November, he told his father a tale;  a story of his abduction by witches, of women turning into animals and of a great, unholy Sabbath. The story quickly spread around the local area and the boy became something of a celebrity. Edmund’s father, perhaps sensing there was fame and fortune to be found in such a reputation, began charging people to see his son’s ‘performances’ and taking him on a tour of the local churches.

It was only a matter of time, of course, before a story of this magnitude reached the local Justices of the Peace and in February 1634, young Edmund finally told the story to the authorities. As part of his deposition, Edmund gave a considerable list of local people who he claimed had been involved in his fantastical tale.

One of the names which appeared on Edmund’s list was that of Jennet Device.

We don’t know for certain, of course, if this Jennet Device was the same Jennet who had been the star witness of the 1612 trials; however, to imagine that it might have been is truly the stuff of stories. My second Witches of Pendle novel, A Woman Named Sellers, is a story woven on the supposition that it was the same Jennet, that in 1634 events in Pendle came full circle, that the witness became the accused.

As in 1612 the accused, including Jennet, were found guilty at the Lancaster Assizes. However, in a move which signaled how times were beginning to change, the judges deferred sentencing to seek further advice from the authorities in London. The Privy Council duly dispatched the Bishop of Chester to undertake a further investigation into the case. They also requested a number of the accused be sent to London for further examination. Four women were sent on the long journey south, where they were subjected to a physical examination by the king’s physician, further questioning, and an interview with King Charles I himself. We can only imagine how utterly terrifying and bewildering that experience must have been.

The Privy Council’s intervention led to the 1634 case falling apart, with the authorities ultimately finding that the story was a fabrication exploited for financial gain and ordering the arrest and imprisonment of Edmund Robinson’s father as a result. The accused were all acquitted, allegedly pardoned by their monarch, and their four representatives were sent home to Lancashire. However, the ending of the story is not a happy one: despite the acquittal many remained in prison, probably as a result of being unable to pay the debts they had accrued after so many months of being unjustly detained at His Majesty’s pleasure.

The tragedy of the 1634 case is that whilst the changing attitudes of the London authorities were able to prevent this tale ending at the gallows, the accused were nonetheless undone by poverty and powerlessness, by being at the bottom of the social heap and by being without the means to free themselves from a justice system which was always stacked against them. It may be less well-known that its 1612 counterpart, but in many ways the story of the 1634 trials is no less poignant. I hope that when the fourth centenary comes around in sixteen years’ time, the other Pendle witch trials will be given the recognition they deserve.

More information about my second Witches of Pendle novel, A Woman Named Sellers, which focuses on the 1634 trials, can be found here

 

A Significant Day

On this day four years ago, Scotland went to the polls to vote in a referendum on its independence and, by a majority of 55% to 45%, decided to remain in the United Kingdom.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, the details of which I won’t get into in this post (this isn’t a politics blog, after all). Nonetheless, I wanted to post something today which reflects on this significant date for a moment. For someone who campaigned heart and soul for something which they believed in (and still believe in), but ultimately fell short in achieving, today is a weird sort of day. Quiet, reflective, moderately restless – that’s how I’d describe September 18th for me now. Which is a long way from the shock, the tears and the grief of those early days following the vote. Time is, after all, an odd sort of medicine.

I have written previously in my blog post The Safe Space about my own referendum experiences and how they ultimately moved me to write my third novel, Ethersay. Ethersay is my first (and to date only) contemporary novel. In many ways, it is different to my other books – different genre, entirely different subject matter. But it is also in keeping with what I like to write about – ordinary people, caught up in extraordinary times.

Academically, intellectually and creatively, I have always been fascinated by thinkers and ideas, by movements and counter-movements, by challenges to the social/political status quo of any era, by rebels, radicals and philosophers. As a student I always gravitated towards subjects which could satisfy these interests – renaissance and enlightenment, political philosophy, witchcraft theory, to name a few.

However, of equal interest for me are the emotional and psychological effects of the great stories of the ages – as a writer, I am attracted to the human tales which are always tucked away, obscured by the headlines or the history books but waiting to be discovered or re-imagined. My first novel, The Gisburn Witch, is essentially about recreating the life story of a name – Jennet Preston. It is about lifting her from the pages of history and making her flesh and blood, giving life to her hopes and desires, her fears and disappointments. It is about filling the gaps which history, for the most part, cannot address – as a writer, I wanted to get to the crux of what this ordinary person, Jennet Preston, went through, and what it was like for her to be caught up in such turbulent times. My motivation was exactly the same for the other Jennet, Jennet Device/Sellers, and my other two Witches of Pendle novels, A Woman Named Sellers and The Pendle Witch Girl.

When it came to writing Ethersay, my motivation was similar too. I really wanted to explore the impact of that momentous, exciting, watershed moment in Scotland’s history on ordinary lives. Unlike my Witches of Pendle novels, however, the subject matter was a couple of years ago, not four hundred; it was much more immediate, personal even. That’s not to say that Ethersay is biographical (it’s not), but I had lived and breathed this period of time myself, I had known what it was like to hope and to strive, to lose and to lament. As the old adage goes, it’s best to write what you know, and in terms of first-hand experience, there probably isn’t a time I know better.

So for me today is about reflecting on that time, about remembering and undoubtedly, about wishing things were different and knowing what I’ll do next time the opportunity comes around! Something tells me I won’t have too long to wait.

Spreading the Word

Whilst all writers have their own hopes, dreams and aspirations, I think it is fairly safe to say that there are a few things which appear on all of our wishlists. Whether we are writing our first book or our fourth, we toil night and day, agonising over our creative efforts before eventually summoning the courage (after seemingly endless rounds of editing and proofing) to put our work out into the world. At that point, I think there are four things we all wish for:

  1. That readers buy the book.
  2. That readers read the book and enjoy it.
  3. That readers rate/review the book on Amazon, Goodreads etc.
  4. That readers tell a friend, family member, colleague or other acquaintance about the book.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that these four wishes are important to any author writing in any genre, whether they are traditionally published, crowdfunded, or self-publishing. For the indie author, those last two wishes are particularly vital. Most indies, myself included, don’t have vast marketing machines behind them, or enormous budgets with which to procure such resources. Most indies rely on the internet, on social media, on reviews, on shares and ratings and that great old-fashioned thing, word of mouth, to maintain their book’s profile far beyond that initial burst of sales which comes with release day.

Why am I talking about this? Well, today I decided that I would write a post which plays my part in this. I am a writer but I am also a reader too, and over the past few years I have read some truly wonderful books by independent authors. Today I thought I would turn the spotlight on to them, tell you a little about their work and where you can find it. It’s all part of spreading the word!

K.J Farnham

K.J Farnham writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her work includes her Click Date Repeat series and her most recent release, A Case of Serendipity. K.J has also written a YA novel, Don’t Call Me Kit Kat. I’m an avid reader of K.J’s work and have reviewed a number of her books on my blog (see here, here and here). If you like light, funny and enjoyable reads which will make you smile and lift your spirits, K.J’s romance novels are probably for you.

Find out more about K.J here.

 

Hillary DeVisser

Hillary DeVisser writes women’s fiction and romance. Her Coal Country series, which includes the books Fishing Hole, Copper Creek and Poets Pass, follows the fortunes of family and friends in a small mining town in Southern Illinois, where lives are not simple and there is always a good dose of suspense to be found. I read these books consecutively and just couldn’t put them down. If you like heartfelt, romantic reads which will have you clutching your chest at times, DeVisser’s books are probably for you.

Find out more about Hillary here.

 

Fiona MacBain

Fiona MacBain writes in the thriller, suspense and crime genres. Her books are one of my more recent discoveries, in fact it was only last week that I reviewed her second novel, Glasdrum, a crime thriller set in the Scottish Highlands (you can read my review here). In the past couple of days I finished reading Fiona’s first novel, the pacy women in jeopardy thriller Daughter, Disappeared set in Tunisia (review for this one is still to come). Both novels are gripping, exciting reads with unpredictable plots, and intriguing, challenging and at times downright grisly characters. If you like absorbing thrillers which you can’t put down, Fiona’s books could well be for you.

Find out more about Fiona here.

 

Campbell Hart

Campbell Hart writes crime fiction and noir, and has more recently released collections of ghost stories. His Arbogast trilogy, comprised of the novels Wilderness, The Nationalist and Referendum are crime novels set in central Scotland all featuring his gritty and completely unforgettable protagonist, DI John Arbogast. Campbell’s Arbogast books were one of my first forays into reading crime fiction and discovering that I did indeed enjoy the genre. The plots were framed within the context of recent memorable events in Scotland, from the freezing winter of 2010 through to the eve of the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, making them immediately relevant and relatable. If you like well-constructed and engaging crime fiction, Campbell’s books might well be for you.

Find out more about Campbell here.

 

Marissa Campbell

Marissa Campbell writes historical fiction and contemporary romance. Her first novel Avelynn was published by St Martin’s Griffin and she has since gone on to self-publish a second novel in the series, Avelynn: The Edge of Faith, as well as a contemporary romance novel. The Avelynn books are epic adventures of magic, faith and survival in the dangerous and superstitious world of ninth century England and Wales. This wasn’t a period I was particularly familiar with before picking up these books, but Marissa’s spell-binding prose and memorable characters really brought it to life for me. If you like gripping historical fiction with a touch of the otherworldly, Marissa’s books are probably for you.

Find out more about Marissa here.

So, over to you! Tell me and your friends about your favourite indies by commenting here, or sharing this post and commenting on your own social media channels with the hashtag #SpreadTheWord

 

Awesome Authors of the Womankind

Today is International Women’s Day, a day which commemorates the women’s rights movement around the globe. It is also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace – two very big and very pertinent topics in these turbulent, unpredictable and sadly occasionally regressive times. The 2018 International Women’s Day campaign theme is #PressforProgress, a timely reminder that there is still much to do in terms of achieving gender parity across the globe. It is important, I think, to celebrate our considerable successes, and 2018 marks one of the biggest achievements of women in 20th Century Britain with the centenary of some women gaining the right to vote. But it is equally important to be reminded that there is more work to be done – the recent #MeToo, #TimesUp and gender pay gap campaigns can attest to that.

While we are talking about reminders, it feels like a good time to mention that I’m still accepting submissions for the Women’s Suffrage Anthology I plan to put together this year. The deadline for submissions is April 30th, so don’t delay! Find out more here.

It also feels like an appropriate day to talk about influential, inspiring women! There has been a great deal of discussion about this in recent weeks, with media and news outlets running features and polls and creating lists of female greats from the arts, politics, history and other cultural icons. In keeping with this spirit I thought I’d put together my own list, specifically focused on some of the female writers, past and present, who have inspired me on my own journey:

Philippa Gregory

The Queen of Historical Fiction is one of my all-time favourite authors. Without a doubt Philippa Gregory was the writer who inspired me to embark on my own journey into writing historical fiction. Her keen eye for historical detail and deep understanding of the characters she portrays sets an extremely high standard for literature and, in my opinion, has helped to raise the reputation of a genre which was often dismissed as whimsical.

Virginia Woolf

I remember reading Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, and not being able to get her words out of my head. As a female writer in the 21st century context, this idea of the value and importance of literal and figurative space is one that I return to frequently as both a source of reflection and creative inspiration. So who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Not me.

Susie Orbach

I read Orbach’s Fat is a Feminist Issue at university as part of my first year undergraduate Women’s Studies course. It was a book which really resonated with me and got me thinking seriously for the first time about body image, about the way we see ourselves and the social moulding of women and girls which begins at such a young age. I remember being struck by the notion that losing weight could really be about losing space – in the literal sense women striving to diminish themselves and take up less room in the world. Powerful stuff which has stuck with me all these years later.

Naomi Wolf

Another favourite from my time as a Women’s Studies undergrad, Wolf’s sharp look at beauty and physical perfection as a means of social control is the sort of book which will change the way you look at beauty ads! I loved this book – it was a real eye-opener and the first time I had read anything which challenged me to look, REALLY look at the images that I, as a young woman, was being bombarded with on a daily basis.

Christina Rossetti

If I’m in the mood for reading classic poetry, it’ll probably be something by Christina Rossetti. Her work is beautiful and stunning, and In the Bleak Midwinter is still my favourite Christmas carol.

Charlotte Bronte

It’s quite hard to choose between the Bronte sisters but for me Charlotte is my favourite, largely because I absolutely adore Jane Eyre. Writing at a time when female writers were subject to considerable prejudice (a fact which Bronte herself observed when choosing her masculine-sounding nom de plume Currer Bell), Charlotte and her sisters’ works stood out and are celebrated as classics to this day.

Elizabeth Gaskell

Another celebrated writer of the Victorian era, Gaskell wrote novels, short stories and biographies during her career, including the first biography of Charlotte Bronte. My favourite of her books is without doubt North and South – for me this novel is the epitome of the Gaskell’s sharp and capable social commentary framed within a wonderful story of romance across the class divide.

Mary Wollstonecraft 

A writer and a woman who needs no introduction. I read Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman as a student of history. I am still in awe of that book.

Tracy Chevalier

Best known for The Girl with the Pearl Earring, for me Chevalier is one of the best historical writers of modern times. Like Philippa Gregory, her work has inspired me on a personal level. Her stories are captivating; literary and yet wholly accessible. Falling Angels is my favourite of her books; I found its exploration of the late Victorian cult of death utterly fascinating.

MJ Rose 

Rose is the author I credit with introducing me to historical fantasy. In recent years I have read a lot of her books but without doubt my favourites are her Daughters of La Lune series. The stories are (quite literally) magical while the settings, from Belle Epoque Paris to New York in the roaring twenties, are rich and evocative. As a writer her books have given me a new perspective on writing about magic and weaving a touch of the fantastical into stories.

So, that’s my list! Which female writers do you find influential or inspirational? Please feel free to comment below. 

Book Review: A Case of Serendipity by K J Farnham

Ruth Bateman is at her wit’s end. If Bucky’s Beans doesn’t stop spamming her phone with discount codes for frou-frou java concoctions, she’s going to flip. After multiple failed attempts to unsubscribe, Ruth takes to the company’s Facebook page to vent her frustration over the never-ending texts.

When attorney, Henry Mancuso, stumbles upon Ruth’s complaint, he has no idea that a simple Facebook scroll is going to change his life. Now, he has to get Ruth to agree to a class action lawsuit when she’s just looking for some peace on her mobile device—not a drawn-out case against a coffeehouse giant.

As Ruth and Henry battle the legal waters, a friendship full of fun and spontaneity blooms. But could something more be brewing between these two and this coffeehouse case?

In short, I absolutely adored this book and found it very difficult to put it down once I started reading. A Case of Serendipity is a contemporary light romance novel which focuses on Ruth, a quirky divorcee and Henry, a workaholic lawyer, who are thrown together by fate after Ruth becomes the lead plaintiff in a case against Bucky’s Beans Coffeehouse.

The novel is a first person narrative and each chapter alternates between either Ruth or Henry’s point of view. This choice of narrative works well and gives the reader the opportunity to really get to know both of these characters who, thanks to Farnham’s flawless style and effortless descriptions, are extremely well drawn. Farnham has a real gift for creating likable characters, the sort of characters who make you want to go along with them for the ride, who make you want to root for them. Ruth and Henry are no exception and by the end of the novel I struggled to decide which I found more endearing; off-beat Ruth with her wild hair and appreciation of life’s simple pleasures, or Henry with his neatness, seriousness and intensity.

The story itself is absolutely delightful – without giving too much away, this is a real ‘feel good’ novel, a genuine light romance about two people who seem to complement each other so perfectly that you can’t imagine them not ending up together. Whether they do or whether they don’t…well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

If you like romance without erotica, well-rounded, likable characters and uplifting plots then this book is for you. Highly recommended – five stars.

A Case of Serendipity is Farnham’s fourth novel, and will be released on 20th March. It is available for Kindle pre-order at the special price of 99p on Amazon UK.

Introducing the Ethersay Launch Video!

It’s nearly Christmas! Who’s excited?!! I know everyone in the King household is feeling very festive – the gifts are wrapped, the mulled wine is ready, the kids are hyper with excitement. All we need now is some snow! Not too much, though, just a little bit will do!

For those who haven’t seen it, the video recordings of the launch event for Ethersay, which was held earlier in December, are now online. Due to the length of the recordings there’s two parts. So, click on each link below to see me answering questions from the host for the event, Fiona Hyslop MSP, and the audience on Ethersay, writing, influences and inspiration and to hear me read a little from the book.

I hope you enjoy watching and don’t forget, if you’re looking for something to read over the holidays, Ethersay is available now from Amazon / iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Kobo

Merry Christmas!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Books 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.

Well, it’s that time of year again – Christmas is upon us and soon after 2018 will follow. A perfect opportunity, I think, to reflect on the most enjoyable books of the year with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Books of 2017.

This week’s top ten selection is an eclectic mix, pulling from different genres – contemporary, historical, fantasy and even crime – and a variety of authors. Some books are bestsellers, some are perhaps less well-known. Some are published traditionally, others are self-published (can I get a cheer for indie authors – woop!). But all are amazing. Ready? Let’s go!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

I know I have probably raved about this book to anyone who will listen to me this year but honestly, it’s just amazing. I have never read anything quite like it and it gave me a total book hangover which is always a good sign. I believe this book has done pretty well this year, topping the bestsellers’ lists and winning accolades aplenty, including a spot on the shortlist for the Costa First Novel Award and WH Smith’s Book of the Year 2017. Not bad for a debut novel, I’d say. Read my full review here.

The Sewing Machine – Natalie Fergie

Another debut novel and another book that I have recommended to many, many people this year. I loved this book so much that I bought a copy for my mum for her birthday. It is such a sweet  and unusual story, and I adore how Fergie builds the narrative around an object. Published by the crowdfunding publisher Unbound, this book seems to be cropping up on readers’ choice lists around the internet, and deservedly so. A refreshing, cheerful read. Read my full review here.

Click Date Repeat Again – KJ Farnham 

The second installment of indie author KJ Farnham’s Click Date Repeat series was a real treat. A lovely, funny tale flawlessly told,  filled with memorable characters and plenty of online dating mishaps! A great read to curl up with during the festive season. Read my full review here.

The Words in my Hand – Guinevere Glasfurd

Probably my favourite historical novel of the year, Glasfurd’s tale of philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes through the eyes of maid Helena is as thought-provoking as it is enjoyable. A beautifully drawn story which was nominated for the Costa First Novel Award in 2016. Read my full review here.

The Secret Language of Stones – M J Rose

Well, we were only ever going to get so far into one of my top ten lists before an M J Rose book would crop up. The second installment in her historical fantasy series, Daughters of La Lune, had me transfixed. Highly recommended.

Three Sisters, Three Queens – Philippa Gregory 

The stories of Margaret Tudor, Mary Tudor and Katherine of Aragon beautifully interwoven by the Queen of historical fiction. I always enjoy Gregory’s books and often find that they spark new interests in me, urging me to learn more about everything and everyone from Katheryn Parr to the Wars of the Roses. This book was no different and I have read widely about Margaret Tudor in particular since.

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire – Sandra Hutchison

Another great story from an indie author, Hutchison’s coming-of-age tale about the relationship which grows between a teenage girl and an older man as they both grapple with grief and trauma is mesmerising. I read this book during my summer holidays and struggled to put it down.

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith – Marissa Campbell

The second book in the Avelynn series from Canadian author Marissa Campbell is as action-packed as the first. Expect romance, magic and so much danger that you will be on the edge of your seat! Loved both books in this series and would strongly recommend them for lovers of Viking/Saxon historical fiction.

The Reincarnationist – M J Rose

Yes I know, another one from M J Rose – sorry, not sorry! I really do love her books, and my first foray into her Reincarnationist series did not disappoint. Plenty of action, plenty of magic, plenty of twists – just the way I like my books.

Whisky from Small Glasses – Denzil Meyrick

Whilst I’m not much of a crime fiction reader, this book was recommended to me by a friend and it really did not disappoint. Great gritty characters, grizzly murders and a gripping ‘whodunnit?’ all made for a fabulous read. Check out my full review here. 

Over to you! What were your favourite books of 2017? Feel free to comment below!

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Unique Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.

Welcome to this week’s top ten! I’ve had a bit of a hiatus from Top Ten Tuesday over the past couple of weeks due to taking some holiday time and being pretty busy getting my next book ready for publication.

This week I am back with the latest top ten theme – top ten books with unique book titles. This one was quite tough, as in many ways lots of book titles are unique. To narrow it down a little, I picked a selection of books from my reading list over the past couple of years which I chose to read in part because I was drawn by their unusual-sounding title. So, without any further ado, here is my top ten:

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire by Sandra Hutchison

This was one of my holiday reads this year. A coming-of-age novel set in 1970s small-town America, the story revolves around the unexpectedly close relationship which develops between a thirty-something grieving widower and a teenage girl. The title is a quote from To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

Don’t Call Me Kit Kat by K J Farnham

This is a young adult novel which I read a couple of Christmases and I was so hooked on it that I read it in two days. This is a heartbreaking emotional rollercoaster of a story about a teenager’s descent into depression, anxiety and eating disorders. A very honest read which stuck with me for a long time afterwards. ‘Kit Kat’ is the unwanted nickname of the protagonist, Katie Mills and this title, for me, captures a lot of what the book is about.

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

This is a sweet novel, bringing together the stories of Jean and Donald, Connie and Alf, and Fred, all taking place across different periods of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but all connected by one thing – A Singer Sewing Machine. I loved the novel’s title and its unique telling-point, the way that it is an object rather than a person which acts as a sort of inanimate protagonist, grounding the story and cementing the history which brings these characters together.

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

The Virgin Blue is Isabelle Tournier, known as ‘la rousse’ because of her similarity to the Virgin Mary. The story follows Isabelle and her descendant, Ella, born centuries apart but whose lives follow interesting parallels. A book full of tragedy and sadness which always left me wanting more, but I did love the title.

Whisky From Small Glasses by Denzil Meyrick

This is one of these great titles which draws you in but which, upon reading the book, seems to have no obvious link to the story! Nonetheless this is a great crime novel set on the west coast of Scotland, and the first in Meyrick’s DCI Daley thriller series.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Frankly, this is probably my book of 2017. It is, in short, a beautiful story about a very unconventional, flawed but likable character who, the reader realises very early on, has a terrible past to come to terms with. The title is quirky and completely evokes the tone of the novel.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Based on the true story of Eyam, the English village struck by plague in 1666, this is a story of survival and a year of catastrophe becoming instead an ‘annus mirabilis’, a year of wonders.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the story of Anne Neville, youngest daughter of the Earl of Warwick or the ‘Kingmaker’, and later wife and Queen of Richard III. A really enjoyable read about the short but relentlessly exciting life of a woman at the centre of late medieval English politics.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paolo Coelho

At the beginning of this story, Veronika attempts suicide. What follows is a journey through despair, emotional discovery and ultimately liberation in a novel which questions the very meaning of madness and conformity. I have read this book so many times that I probably know it by heart.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

This is a ‘Salem’ novel with a bit of a difference. I love books which are named after objects and this is no exception, the ‘physick book’ being the central physical tenet which binds Connie Goodwin and her ancestors together in a tale of mystery and revelation.

So what are your favourite unique book titles? Please feel free to share in the comments or via social media.