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The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
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The Daylight Gate (2012)

by Jeanette Winterson

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It's the best time of year for a suspenseful, spooky story and Jeanette Winterson has just the book for you! "The Daylight Gate" is a fictionalized account of the Trial of the Pendle Witches. In short chapters, Winterson relates the story of Alice Nutter, former student of the great alchemist John Dee and wealthy widow, who is accused of witchcraft, along with her tenants. Winterson weaves a backstory full of alchemy, illicit love and the devil, as she draws the reader into Alice's world full of fear--fear of witches, fear of being discovered to be a Catholic, fear of single wealthy women, who may or may not be harboring a conspirator from the Gun Powder Plot.
Winterson's simple straightforward prose and storytelling are a refreshing change for the author, who is known for her postmodern novels, often with circuitous plots. In addition, it is clear that the author did her due diligence when it comes to research in order to understand her characters and accurately portray the mindset of Jacobean England, including the belief in witchcraft. This setting, on the brink of scientific thought, at the same time mired down in the belief that witches sign their soul away to the Devil is as interesting as the plot itself.
Overall, an excellent look into the mindset of an England on the verge of becoming a fully Protestant land, while battling the joint forces of witches and Catholics.

Julie K. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
1 vote mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
I was looking for another book at the library but couldn't find it, this one stood face-out on a shelf, and even though I couldn't recall why Jeanette Winterson's name would be familiar to me I knew that the reviews I'd heard were largely positive & from sources with relative sympathetic to my tastes. It is, of course, the famous [b:Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit|15055|Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit|Jeanette Winterson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1267717580s/15055.jpg|1411520] that made Winterson's name known to me, and after reading this I know I'll have to take a crack at that book.

This was a very fast read--just two quick hours. I've read a good amount of fiction set right around this time, but very seldom with a female focus or developed female cast. It's well-written and somehow curious and I think it's that strange factor that keeps you reading on.

My feelings about Shakespeare as a character in fiction are somewhat well-documented and unexpectedly strong. Winterson pulls it off elegantly here and that is high praise coming from me. ( )
1 vote likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Brutal and gruesome.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
The Daylight Gate, Jeannette Winterson I had every intention of loving this book, but unfortunately it didn't grab me the way that Winterson's novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit or her memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? did. 
 
Winterson's writing in this novella is as vivid and evocative as always, but I wanted more character development and more context. I knew nothing at all about the Pendle witch trials in Britain when I began the book (indeed, I was only vaguely aware that the book is based on a real event in history) and I wonder if I would have gotten more out of the book if I'd know as much about Pendle as I know about Salem, Massachusetts. As it was, I felt like there were too many characters for such a short book, and too much suggestion without much background.
 
  ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
This book reads like someone had part of an idea and tried to tie it together into some sort of story and wrote it as quickly as possible.

Alternatively, this reads like someone explained the witch trials to extraterrestrials and illustrated it to them with 1970s horror films and the aliens tried to write a book about it. Or maybe robots.

Either way, it was definitely the most disappointing book I read in 2015. And somehow, unfortunately, the last book I read in 2015. ( )
  sixteendays | Dec 31, 2015 |
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To Henri-Llewlyn Davies
1954-2011.
Her own witch and mine.
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The North is the dark place.
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Haiku summary
The accusation:
witchery – or popery?
Who cares? Hang them all.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099561859, Hardcover)

A wonderfully atmospheric, intricating woven, magical modern-day tale of the Pendle Witches. The animosity and anger betwen the accused and the accusers -- which tore the community apart in the seventeenth century -- is still going strong today.

The animosity and anger between the accused and the accusers -- which tore the community apart in the seventeenth century -- is still going strong in the present day. A couple go to Pendle and the woman is caught up in the legend that has haunted the area for centuries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Can a man be maimed by witchcraft? Can a severed head speak? Based on the most notorious of English witch-trials, this is a tale of magic, superstition, conscience and ruthless murder. It is set in a time when politics and religion were closely intertwined; when, following the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, every Catholic conspirator fled to a wild and untamed place far from the reach of London law. This is Lancashire. This is Pendle. This is witch country". -- Cover.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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