Monthly Archives: March 2017

His Last Witch Hunt by Deborah C. Foulkes

Historical Fiction reviews

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An intriguing tale that takes place during the English Civil War about The Witch Finder General, Matthew Hopkins.  The village of Hopton is shaken by a death and witchcraft is suspected as the cause.  Matthew and his crew find themselves embroiled in a very confusing situation compounded by many factors that make this case very difficult for all involved.  The author does a fine job in rendering the hysteria, the fear and the hatred that the villagers feel towards the accused.  The characters are portrayed in a way that takes the reader into the mindset of this unfortunate time period of inquisition and religious fanaticism.  The story starts out to be a straight forward example of a superstitious accusation but the author entwines other human frailties and emotions  into the mix making for entertaining plot twists.  This is certainly a page turning delight to read.  4.3 stars

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Suzanne Jackson

I met Suzanne at an author event we were both attending and as what often happens we swapped books. I’ll be honest, the cover put me off a little. It seemed to shout out everything that I didn’t like. Like a Regency Mills and Boon, however, the first chapter Suzanne offered me had me gripped and once I returned home and downloaded it, I realised that it was exactly the book I loved.

The Beguiler is set in the Regency period and centres around two characters Rebecca, a witch and Nicholas, a failed trader. After Rangers raid Rebecca’s town hunting for witches, Rebecca is thrust into the path of Nicholas, whose family are famed for  being one of the best in witch trading. They capture witches maximise their powers, before selling them to prospective buyers for profit. However, Rebecca soon gets under Nicolas’s skin and when her power is shown to be beguiling, then the price on her head is much greater. Now the two have to work together in order to save each other.

Suzanne’s writing reminded me a lot of Paula Brackston’s Winter Witch. The narrative and themes were very similar, making it a very easy and addictive read. I couldn’t put it down once I started and was in love with Rebecca from the very start. This is Suzanne’s debut and I would say it’s one hell of a debut and could be one that makes a big splash in the right market. She is an amazing story teller and The Beguiler is beautiful piece of story telling. I’ve no idea if this will be a continued series, but I know I would  read more of Suzanne’s work and through I didn’t love the cover, what’s inside it is perfect for those  who love Brackston or Harkness.

Interview with Suzanne

Suzanne Jackson lives in England, in a small village not far from York, and is married and has two grown up children. Until recently she also had a very old Burmilla cat. As a teenager, Suzanne wrote poetry and short stories purely for herself, cutting out pictures from magazines as inspiration. She loves reading Romance and Fantasy novels, and very much enjoys Romantic Fantasy, where both elements are combined.  

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The setting for The Beguiler is Regency. What made you write in that era?

Hello, Debby. Thank you for welcoming me onto your blog. It’s great to be able to talk a little bit about my book The Beguiler. Late Georgian, especially the Regency period, has fascinated me for years. I have always loved visiting historic houses, been amazed by the extravagance, opulence on a massive scale. But the people who lived in such luxury were a small part of the population. The servants who made the houses run like clockwork were paid very little and had a hard life. These two parts of society are never meant to touch, not completely. But what would happen if they did? The thought of different parts of society coming together opens up a lot of writing ideas for me.

 

England and Europe has a deep history with its witches. What research did you do on that history?I think I gathered a lot of information over several years, purely by visiting places, watching documentaries, and reading. Therefore I did very little actual research during writing the book. I will never forget the visit I made to the area around Pendle Hill, Lancashire, though. The day was dark, rainy and very eerie, bringing to mind the poor unfortunate souls who were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged on the moors above the village in the 17th century. It must have been a terrifying and painful way to die.  

 

The witch traders and the rangers seem to have a lot of parallels with what happens in the modern world. Was that something that was in your mind when writing?

There are parallels, but I didn’t deliberately think of this at the time. For me, it’s more a case of these kinds of events have always happened, throughout history. Unfortunately, it still happens today.  

 

Who inspires you?

I have always read books, for as long as I can remember, and I’m sure many of my childhood books inspired my love of reading and writing. I discovered Science Fiction, and particularly enjoyed John Wyndham’s novels. Gradually my reading changed and I began to enjoy Fantasy, and also some Romance. By chance I picked up a novel by Juliet Marillier, and I realised how much I loved reading Fantasy and Romance combined.

 

What is your writing process? Do you have a strict regime that you stick to?

I try to write in the morning. It doesn’t always happen, but this is definitely a good time for me to write. I often listen to music, especially when developing that first draft, as it helps me to shut off the world around me. Editing is different, and I need peace and quiet for that.  

 

What advice would you give to other writers?

Don’t give up! And keep learning and improving. Getting a publisher can take a long time so don’t get disheartened. If you love writing and are determined you’ll most likely succeed eventually. The main thing is to enjoy the journey, the love of writing.  

 

What’s next for you?

 I have a couple of ideas brewing at the moment. I would like to revisit my Regency world, and a couple of the characters seem to think so too, and might appear in another book. I also have a different world entirely in mind. It is all early days yet, and my stories change a lot during the writing process, so I don’t want to say too much about it at this point.  

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