A dark, chilling thriller about three of the women accused during the 1612 Pendle Witch Trials
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.
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.
A quarter of the way there!
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
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!
We’ve reached 20%!
Monday, 24 June 2019
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.
These people are helping to fund The Hellion.