The Hellion

By Harriet Young

A dark, chilling thriller about three of the women accused during the 1612 Pendle Witch Trials

Fiction | History
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August 1612, Pendle, Lancashire. The most infamous witch trials In British history have just taken place, leading to the execution by hanging of eight women and two men. Most of the accused were members of two families from the local area, with a long, animus and intertwining history. The star witness was a nine-year old girl, Jennet, and her evidence led to the deaths of her sister, brother, mother and grandmother.

June 1537, Whalley, Lancashire. After the razing of Whalley Abbey, young Elizabeth is an orphan. She is taken in by her friend Annie’s grandmother, where she learns secret charms and incantations. In a time when your religion can be as deadly as poison, everything is treated with superstition, and everyone is suspected.

Growing into adulthood then marrying and raising a family in an impoverished household, the notorious Malkin Towers, Elizabeth does the best she can with what she has. But the more things go wrong, the more Elizabeth has to rely on her wits to survive. And wits in a woman are deeply disturbing.

Elizabeth and her family experience unlucky blow after unlucky blow, in a time when illness and poverty were rife. And it doesn’t get easier for the future generations, either. Elizabeth’s grandchildren, Alizon and James, struggle through life; James as a labourer and occasional thief and Alizon as an unpaid scivvy for her family.

The whisper of witchcraft had always hung over the family, but when baby Jennet is born – Alizon and James’s sister – everything seems to get much, much worse.

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  • Harriet Young avatar

    Harriet Young

    Harriet is based in Cheshire and lives with her husband and cat.

    After studying Law at the University of Manchester and deciding there was no way on earth she would ever be a lawyer, Harriet worked in various jobs before retraining as a primary school teacher in 2016. She has worked as a teacher since then, and particularly loves the joy of teaching young children to read and share her passion for books.

    Harriet has an ardent interest in history, and prefers to read and write books with an historical grounding. Mainly a thriller writer, Harriet’s books are gripping, tense and sometimes terrifying. She loves to write about those times in history when the horrifying has happened; events you can’t believe actually took place.

    As well as writing, Harriet loves photography and reading, and combines the two on her Instagram account

  • With a crack, the cradle is empty

    The mother is sobbing

    The cradle is empty

    With a crack

    The sun never shone down by Malkin Towers. That's what everyone said. The place was brown, or grey in the winter, and enveloped in a smell – the smell of death, someone told me. There'd be kids about, dirty ones wearing rags, you'd never go past that way if you could help it because they'd rob you. But the kids weren't the worst thing, even if they were lice ridden. No. The worst thing was those evil demons, witches, murderers, the lot of them. Some in my family met a sticky end at the hands of them, and there’s a dozen families in the valley who could say the same thing.

    Even now, even now after the whole place is gone, razed to the ground after the trial, I wouldn't go down that way. I'd rather walk a hundred miles out of my way. Why? Well. They really tried their best to get them, and they got most, and I do feel better for that. But the worst one. The worst one by far. She survived. And I know she did some terrible, terrible things. I saw her. She did them to me, she did them to my family, she even did them to her own heathen kind. And she's out there still, I'm always looking over my shoulder.

    Sometimes my grandchildren will say to me, ‘why you thinking about that, Ma, it's been years and she were just a child, what harm could she do?’ And I'll say ‘you just count yourselves lucky you didn't have to live it, if you had you'd know.’ I'm not misremembering, even if I am getting on in years a bit now, because others know it too. I'm not being superstitious, because others know it too. No one goes down that way, by Malkin Towers. She could be anywhere, that one, and if she decided she wanted to get revenge against one of us, well, we wouldn't have a chance. Keep yourself to yourself, that's my advice, don't go near that evil ruin. And for what it's worth, make sure you say your prayers. Although they didn't help us much back then.

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  • Harriet Young has written 2 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    30th August 2019 70% funded. Thank you!

    A quick update- The Hellion is now 70% funded (by over 250 of you kind and generous people!) and I’m now just 30% away from publication. This is down to your support and I am so very grateful for it. The hard work isn’t over yet though. You can still help The Hellion become a reality by sharing my fundraising link with anyone you know - face to face, through Facebook, Twitter or instagram, pigeon…

    31st July 2019 Halfway there! 50% funded

    Hello everyone,

    Well, we’re over the hump and surely it’s all downhill from here? Thanks to your support, The Hellion is now 50% funded and well on track to being published. A huge £2,779 has been raised by 184 of you, and that is just incredible! Some more stats for you - I have spent 210 hours on social media spreading the word, and walked 73 miles leafleting for my novel.

    But, there’s still…

    21st July 2019 150 backers!

    Today we have reached the huge number of 150 backers! It is wonderful to think that this many people are supporting my project. I’m incredibly proud of my book, and it makes me so happy that all of you believe in it too!

    This weekend, I visited Pendle (which is the setting of my book) again. We managed to climb Pendle Hill (fortunately the weather was fine this morning) and look once again upon…

    26th June 2019 A quarter of the way there!

    After only just over a week, we are a quarter of the way there! The Hellion reached 25% of its funding today. This is amazing and I am so grateful to everyone who has and continues to support! Please do carry on sharing with family and friends (and asking them to share with their family and friends...!). Your support, kind words and enthusiasm is completely invaluable!

    24th June 2019 We’ve reached 20%!

     Thank you everyone for your support so far - it has been less than a week and, already, the book is 20% funded. I’ve been overwhelmed by all of your kind words and wishes! Thank you for continuing to share with your friends and families; the more people hear about the book, the better. 

    THANK YOU!

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