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The Witch's Trinity by Erika Mailman
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The Witch's Trinity (2007)

by Erika Mailman

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This is a solid little piece of historical fiction about witchcraft in Germany in the early 1500s. The story follows Gude, an elderly woman who lives with her son and spiteful daughter-in-law and their two children. She's suffering from what's probably Alzheimers or Dementia (sorry, I don't know much about either) around the same time that a friar comes to their little town to sniff out witches. The town has been starving after several seasons of bad harvest and the people are looking for someone to blame.

While I didn't think this was spectacular and won't be keeping my copy, I did read it in two sittings. The chapters are short and the story was engaging and fairly fast-paced (at least, in terms of how the hunt escalates). I find the horrible, mob-mentality of witch hunts fascinating and this book really illustrated how quickly people are willing to turn on their neighbors, friends and even family, if it means putting food on the table and finding a scapegoat for their problems. I also learned about a torture device that I'd never heard of (the pear of anguish) which is horrible and made my ladybits hurt just reading about it!

So, yeah. If this time period and subject are your thing, this might be a good book to borrow or get your hands on for cheap. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Mar 15, 2018 |
Good read. It did start off slow and I was beginning to get bored and skim. However it picked up and ended up being a really good story. I also liked the author's sharing the story about one of her ancestor's being tried in America for witchcraft. ( )
  scot2 | Aug 2, 2017 |
Started out fantastic, really through-provoking, emotional, different type of story. I liked how it ended, but somehow the last 1/4 was not as compelling reading as the first 3/4. ( )
  fbswss | May 8, 2017 |
1507
Tierkinddorf (a remote German villiage)

A visiting friar, carrying the book Malleus Maleficarum, determines to
end the longstanding village famine. ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 31, 2016 |
It's a long harsh winter in Germany in 1507 and after several years of failed harvests famine stalks the countryside. Hunger and dispair makes people look for scapegoats and single elderly women are the obvious target. Irmeltrud sees the perfect opportunity to get rid of her mother-in-law Guede, who she thinks is just another mouth to feed. Pointing the finger can backfire though and quickly accusations of witchcraft are flying and the whole town is in uproar.

This was very well told, vividly imagined and rather haunting. The author's understanding of German words and expressions in excellent and she uses them to good effect. The story is not for the faint-hearted though because of the violence and cruelty involved. People's capacity to harm each other on the slightest pretext always saddens me, and while the author gives hunger as a reason here, I suspect it would take far less for these characters to denounce their neighbours, or indead their family members. A dark period of history, brought to life in great detail.
( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
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Epigraph
After she has been consigned to prison in this way,

the promise to spare her life should be kept for a time,

but after a certain period she should be burned.

-- Malleus Maleficarum
Dedication
To Mary Bliss Parsons
First words
It was a winter to make bitter all souls.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Witch. Some words can kill.

To Güde's son and grandchildren it could mean the loss of a loved one.

To Güde it could mean torture and death at the stake.

And to Güde's daughter-in-law it could mean one less mouth to feed.

In a time when famine is rife and panic spreading, people resort to desperate measures in order to survive. So when Güde is accused of witchcraft by her daughter-in-law she must find the strength to clear her name and save her life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 030735153X, Paperback)

“A gripping, well-told story of faith and truth.”
—Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of The Kite Runner

“A disturbingly effective historical novel.”
Boston Globe

“Beautifully written, nary a word out of place, and with a few moments that throw you beyond—the way good books do ... deeply satisfying.”
San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2007

The year is 1507, and severe famine strikes a small town in Germany. A friar arrives from a large city, claiming that the town is under the spell of witches in league with the devil. He brings with him a book called the Malleus Maleficarum—“The Witch’s Hammer.” It is a guide to gaining confessions of witchcraft. The friar promises he will identify the guilty woman who has brought God’s anger upon the town, burn her, and restore bounty.

The elderly Güde Müller suffers stark and frightening visions; none in the village knows this, and Güde herself worries that the sharpness of her mind has begun to fade. Yet of one thing she is absolutely certain: She has become an object of scorn and a burden to her son’s wife. In these desperate times, her daughter-in-law would prefer one less hungry mouth at the family table. As the friar turns his eye on each member of the tiny community, Güde dreads what her daughter-in-law might say to win his favor, and that her secret visions will be revealed.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"The year is 1507, and a friar has arrived in Tierkinddorf, a remote German village nestled deeply in the woods. The village has been suffering a famine, and the villagers are desperately hungry. The friar's arrival is a miracle, and when he claims he can restore the town to prosperity, the men and women gathered to hear him rejoice. The friar has a book called the Malleus Maleficarum - "The Witch's Hammer" - a guide to gaining confessions of witchcraft. The friar promises he will identify the guilty woman who has brought God's anger upon the town; she will be burned, and bounty will be restored. Tierkinddorf is filled with hope. Neighbors wonder aloud who has cursed them and how quickly can she be found? They begin sharing secrets with the friar." "Gude Muller, an elderly woman, has stark and frightening visions - recently she has seen things that defy explanation. None in the village know this, and Gude herself worries that perhaps her mind has begun to wander - certainly she has outlived all but one of her peers in Tierkinddorf. Yet of one thing she is absolutely certain: She has become an object of scorn and a burden to her son's wife. In these desperate times her daughter-in-law would prefer one less hungry mouth at the family table. As the friar turns his eye on each member of the tiny community, Gude dreads what her daughter-in-law might say to win his favor." "Then one terrible night Gude follows an unearthly voice and the scent of charred meat into the snow-filled woods. Come morning, she no longer knows if the horror she witnessed was real or imagined. She only knows that if the friar hears of it, she may be damned in this life as well as the next."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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