The Witchfinder’s Sister ~ Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister
Beth Underdown

Available at libraries near me: Hartford Public Library, Library Connection consortium

Further information and reviews at Goodreads.

I forgot to bring a book home with me over the long 4th of July weekend, so I went to A Different Library and found this book on their new book shelf. What I failed to take into account is that the popular new books don’t stay on the shelf at A Different Library. Some of them have pretty deep wait lists. In retrospect, the fact I was able to check this out wasn’t a good sign. In other words, this isn’t a very exciting book. It’s not horrible (I have been able to make it all the way to the end, over the course of a month), it’s just disjointed and dull.

On page 13, Alice has arrived at her brother’s house in Manningtree. A recent widow, she has traveled there from London. Their relationship has been strained, and Alice is not looking forward to reuniting with Matthew. Perhaps the reader is supposed to feel Alice’s trepidation; I didn’t.

Alice knocks and the door is answered. Following a brief conversation, the servant lets her in.

Grudging, she stood back to let me pass. I did not know what it meant, that Matthew was not there; I had braced myself to face him. The servant was making a business of fastening the latch behind us, mumbling something about expecting me at the front door, which I permitted myself not to hear.

The statement about Matthew (actually on page 14) illustrates the disjointedness of the novel. The paragraph is about the servant closing the door, and while, yes, Alice’s fear is relevant to the story, the mixture of the servant’s actions and Alice’s thoughts takes away from the flow. This sort of thing continues throughout the book.

Worth checking out: If you’re having trouble sleeping.


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