Book Review: The Pendle Curse by Catherine Cavendish

23622051Title: The Pendle Curse
Author: Catherine Cavendish
Genre: Horror
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill,and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there.But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a webof witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.

The Pendle Curse is one of the best witch stories I’ve ever read. The book reaches back to the original notion of witches, brewing up potions, grabbing herbs and giving others the evil eye. Unlike modern stories of witchcraft, it stays true to some elements of the older witch-related mythology, and by doing so, it instantly gained a few stars for me. Forget about witches like the ones in Charmed or The Witches of East End – here we have the real deal, from old crones to younger, but equally relentless witches, the ones you come across in medieval stories, the ones you can genuinely fear.

Laura Philips’ husband died suddenly, and the loss has her devastated. She’s depressed, barely gets any sleep, and if she does, her sleep is haunted by nightmares of a dark hill, gallows, and a man who seems to know her. When the nightmares grow more vivid, Laura starts digging around and finds out the hill from her dreams is real – it’s called Pendle Hill, and it’s a tourist attraction. Four centuries ago, ten convinced witches were hanged on the Hill, since called Pendle Hill.

Driven by curiosity, Laura goes to visit the quaint, small town near Pendle Hill. She books a room in a local inn, and goes out to investigate. But what she finds in Pendle Hill is bigger than she could’ve ever imagined. Combining a storyline of four centuries ago, and a present storyline involving Laura, the book switches back and forth between past and present to craft a haunting, intriguing story about a witch’s curse that spans centuries.

Although I enjoyed both storylines, the past one was my favorite because it focused on the witches and stayed most loyal to witch lore. The writing was excellent, the characters vibrant and entertaining, and overall, this was one of the best witch stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

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