- Author: Alison Williams
- Kindle Edition
- Category: Historical Fiction
‘How will you protect her from lies? From superstition? How will you protect her when your father comes calling, with threats and accusations? When a mob comes to our door?’
In a time when death is common, life is cheap and superstition rife, anyone can find their world torn apart by gossip and accusations. Can one lonely girl find the love and companionship she craves? Or will her heart lead her into more danger than she can imagine?
Blackwater is the prequel to The Black Hours, in which Alice Pendle and her grandmother, Maggie, fall foul of the self-styled Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. Blackwater chronicles events leading up to Alice’s birth.
Lizzie and her mother, Maggie are living quietly in a little cottage in Eversley after years of moving around, trying to avoid the suspicion which all too often falls on healers like themselves. Helping people reaps no rewards if something untoward happens in the village. Gratitude is forgotten when the finger of accusation points their way – the world around them is full of narrow-minded discrimination. Hangings are a regular occurrence.
Maggie gave Lizzie a warning look.
‘Be careful, keep your voice down. You know how it is, we have discussed it often enough. These people are poor, their lives are hard. When things go wrong, as they do so often, they look for someone to blame.’
‘But why blame those who have helped them in the past? The people who have given them cures, helped them when they were desperate?’
Her mother shook her head, her eyes sad. Lizzie knew that Maggie herself has suffered suspicion and persecution al her life.
Samuel Pendle is a friend to Lizzie and has been for most of her life. He’s looked out for her and helped her out of trouble countless times over the years, despite his mother’s hatred of Lizzie and Maggie, and her hating Samuel’s protection of Lizzie. As their relationship deepens Lizzie and Samuel begin meeting in secret. If Lizzie and Maggie thought they had troubles before, they were nothing compared to what was about to unfold.
Alison Williams has again captured the atmosphere of 17th century rural England incredibly well in this compelling and chilling novella. The uncertainty of life for those who are out of the ordinary in any way, and the horror visited upon those unfortunate enough to be singled out is tragic. Maggie and Lizzie are sympathetic and well drawn characters who are basically at the mercy of their peers, who in turn are controlled by their fears and jealousies.
Historical fiction, combined with fact, gives authenticity to the story. It’s a fascinating, and dark, look at the harsh reality of life in those times and the terrible injustices which were committed not just in this country, but in others as well.
About Alison Williams