Paperback (2012). 332 pp. ISBN-10: 1477693459; ISBN-13: 978-1477693452.
Kindle eBook (2012). 334 pp.
A novel about the witch hunts and the destructive force of blind, fanatic religion. It is set in Scotland in the first half of the 17th century and follows the life of two childhood friends: Elspeth Finnie who grows up to become a brewster like her mother before her; and Enoch Gibb, youngest son of laird Gibb, who, wishing only to serve God, becomes the minister of the parish of Sauchiedale.
Life is hard for the destitute, superstitious population of Scotland, but it is not until the frenzied witch hunts in 1649 – the worst to date – that tragedy occurs in Sauchiedale. King Charles I has been beheaded in London, and in Scotland the jubilant Covenanters’ religious zeal knows no bounds. When Elspeth Finnie is falsely accused of having signed a pact with the Devil, and of having procured a human infant for him, both Elspeth and Enoch are forced to choose between their humanity and their God.
“A thoroughly researched historical novel with an engaging narrative form. The author lays the groundwork beautifully for her story, introducing well-rounded characters and cris, realistic dialogue. … A solid contribution to a popular genre, this novel skilfully brings history to life.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Readers are taken along on one woman’s internal journey as she struggles with religious faith and doubt. Holmström also delves into the ways in which the painful realities of life affect a person’s faith as well as the potentially destructive force of religious fervor. … Holmström … has penned a tale with a fascinating subject and setting. She takes readers on an exploration of the history and culture of the time period, examining in particular how otherwise average people allowed mass witch burnings to occur. And while Holmström clearly takes umbrage at what unchecked religious fervour can lead to, she credits people of faith with having sincere hearts that honestly question even as they hold on to what they believe.” – Diane Gardner, ForeWord Reviews
“When the frenzy of witch hunts spread across Scotland, the devout and hardworking Elspeth was caught up in such tragic events that my heart went out to her though it’s been more than 400 years since she died. This book is my favourite of 2012. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and though I couldn’t put it down, especially towards the end, I didn’t want it to be over.” – Michelle Gent, Historical Novels Review