Lincoln, 1380. Our guide on this journey through medieval Lincoln remains anonymous to us until the end of the book, although we know them to be a ghost with a pet ferret…
The beautiful widow Catlin, along with her unnaturally beautiful children, are new to the city. Catlin appears to be kind and caring, and having suffered in her life, she is swift in her offer to help look after the sick wife of one of the cities richest men, a wool merchant named Robert of Bassingham. As Robert’s wife sickens further and requires more care, Catlin and her children move in so that she can be on hand should she be needed.
However, when people start dying around her, suspicions of witchcraft are raised. Is Catlin a witch? Or is she the innocent victim of bad luck and superstition?
What will become of Catlin? And how do her children fit into the events that unfold in that strange household? More importantly, can Robert see the truth of it before it is too late?
I loved this book (as I love all of Karen Maitland’s stories – she is a very gifted storyteller and her passion for the medieval period is clearly evident in her writing). There is such a great depth of knowledge to be found in the narrative, in the form of descriptions of the places in and around Lincoln and London, as well as in the detail of the history of the period, especially of the peasant’s revolt, which she brings evocatively to life with such ease. And, as always her characters are fascinating and realistic, pulling you deeper and deeper into the story.
A great piece of historical fiction that manages to weave together witchcraft and superstitions from the period into an amazing, captivating read. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.