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The Lancashire Witches by William Harrison…
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The Lancashire Witches (1854)

by William Harrison Ainsworth

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1242137,150 (3.29)9
  1. 00
    Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill (mlfhlibrarian)
    mlfhlibrarian: A more modern take on the story, with a teenage female protagonist who is related to Roger Nowell, the JP who sent the witches to the Lancaster Assizes.
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This is the fifth of the gothic romantic historical novels by Ainsworth that I have read, but is my least favourite. Set largely in the early 17th century under the witch-hunting King James I, it was very long and lacked the fairly strong central narrative drive that the others have had. The last of the four major sections into which it is divided in particular seemed overdrawn, with a number of hunting and feasting setpiece scenes, then an ironically fairly rushed dramatic final few short chapters. While there are some creepy and horrific depictions of they way in which alleged witches were identified, denounced and punished at the time, the effect is spoiled here, by the fact that these witches are real witches and portrayed as archetypal evil, mostly older, women. Some of the vernacular dialogue was quite hard to read as well. 3/5 ( )
  john257hopper | Jun 22, 2013 |
Bogged down in the opening chapter
  Georges_T._Dodds | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Ainsworth's last masterpiece, The Lancashire Witches proved a best-seller in its day and influenced many contemporary authors. The Lancashire Witches begins in the 16th century, in Lancashire, England. When a Cistercian monk, Borlace Alvetham, is falsely accused of witchcraft and condemned to death by his rival, Brother Paslew, he sells his soul to Satan and escapes. Years later, granted the powers of a warlock, he returns in the guise of Nicholas Demdike to witness Paslew's execution for treason. Dying, Paslew curses Demdike's offspring -- who become the titular 'Lancashire Witches.' The rest of the book set in the 17th century. Mother Demdike, a powerful witch, and her clan face rival witches, raise innocent young Alizon Devi as their own, and try to corrupt Alizon despite her innocent ways. Ultimately, the book becomes a struggle between Heaven and Hell, with Alizon's fate hanging in the balance. Ainsworth's last masterpiece, The Lancashire Witches proved a best-seller in its day and influenced many contemporary authors.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586050957, Paperback)

A Romance of Pendle Forest.

The Pendle Witches or Lancashire Witches were the most famous witches in English history. The Pendle Witches were accused of selling their souls to familiar spirits or devils who appeared to them in human and animal form. In return for their souls, it was believed that the witches received the power to kill or lame who they pleased.

This novel is set on Pendle Hill in early 17th century Lancashire. A monk is falsely accused of witchcraft and sets off a series of events taken from the real witches of Pendle Hill...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:11 -0400)

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