Widdershins : Witches, Witchfinders & Witch Trials

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England, 1649. A sadistic witch hunter. An apprentice healer accused of witchcraft. Can she escape the hangman's noose?

When John's parents die at the hands of a witch, he faces a choice: an easy life with a woman who serves Satan, or a hard life with a preacher who serves God. The cursed orphan chooses the church. Raised on raging sermons, he discovers his true purpose: to become a witchfinder and save virtuous souls from the jaws of hell.

In a town mesmerized by superstition and fear, two destinies collide. As John rounds up the local witches, Jane gets more than she bargained for when bartering with the apothecary. Instead of trading herbal remedies, she finds herself on trial for consorting with the devil. Can she prove her innocence, or will she be condemned to death?

If you like historical novels based on real witch trials, you'll love Helen Steadman's Widdershins and its sequel, Sunwise.

Buy the Widdershins Series to find out whether good triumphs over evil.

Recommended for fans of The Familiars, Tidelands and The Witchfinder's Sister.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 286 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 22mm | 450g
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 2nd New edition
  • 1739776275
  • 9781739776275

Review quote

'A compelling tale of two young people whose destinies are intertwined, a witch-hunter and a witch. But is she really a witch? This meticulously researched account of a bigoted man's inhumanity to women in the seventeenth century will make the modern reader grateful to have been born in an enlightened age.' Mari Griffith, The Witch of Eye

'Widdershins gives a compelling and nuanced account of the clash of cultures that claimed so many lives. Steadman's carefully interwoven narrative conjures a world of herbal lore, folk practice and belief and convincingly portrays the psychological and ideological forces that form a perpetrator, and the social structures that sustain him.' Helen Lynch, Tea for the Rent Boy

'Helen's writing has a... persuasive and empathetic force, weaving together historical fact with modern concerns about the treatment of women.' Helen Marshall, The Migration

Widdershins is a dark and wonderful novel, rich in historical details, herbal lore, traditions and superstitions. Steadman's clear-eyed storytelling and colourful period voice give life to a vibrant cast of characters drawn against the backdrop of tragic historical events. A compelling and memorable tale!' Louisa Morgan, A Secret History of Witches

'Infused as it is with aromas of rosemary, fennel and lavender, even the healers' herbs do not mask the reek of the injustice that sits at the heart of Widdershins. Powerful and shocking.' Wyl Menmuir, The Many

'Impeccably written, full of herbal lore and the clash of ignorance and prejudice against common sense, as well as the abounding beauty of nature, it made for a great read. There are plenty of books, both fact and fiction, available about the witch-trial era, but not only did I not know about such trials in Newcastle, I have not read a novel that so painstakingly and vividly evokes both the fear and joy of living at that time.'
Sally Zigmond, Historical Novel Society

'A very easy book to read, full of great imagery that vividly conjures up the historical setting.' Alex Clare, He's Gone

'This is an emotional and uncomfortable read, which frankly made my feminist blood boil. Inspired by the Newcastle witch trials of 1650, it powerfully challenges our lingering, stereotypical views of witchcraft.' Lisa Botwright, Optima Magazine

'Written beautifully, and meticulously researched, not just in facts and great atmosphere of the historical period, but also in vernacular language, as well as in the lore of healers and herbalists of the time, the book makes for an unforgettable, fascinating read. Highly recommended.'

Susana Aikin, The Weight of the Heart

'The characters are by turns engaging and enraging, and the whole thing really puts you there, in time and place; it's impossible not to get emotionally caught up and then put through the wringer by the fate of the victims of these show trials.' Ted Curtis, The Darkening Light
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