Thursday, April 18, 2024

Red Runs the Witch's Thread

Paisley, Scotland, 1697. Thirty-five people accused of witchcraft. Seven condemned to death. Six strangled and burned at the stake. All accused by eleven-year-old Christian Shaw.

Bargarran House, 1722. Christian Shaw returns home, spending every waking hour perfecting the thread bleaching process that will revive her family’s fortune. If only she can make it white enough, perhaps her past sins will be purified too.
But dark forces are at work. As the twenty-fifth anniversary of the witch burnings approaches, ravens circle Bargarran House, their wild cries stirring memories and triggering visions.

As Christian’s mind begins to unravel, her states of delusion threaten the safety of all those who cross her path. In the end she must make a terrible choice: her mind or her soul? Poverty and madness, or a devil’s bargain for the bleaching process that will make her the most successful businesswoman Paisley has ever seen?

Her fate hangs by a thread. Which will she choose?

Book source ~ TWR Tour
Historical Fantasy | Horror
11 April 2024
175 Pages

My Rating ~ 3 bites

In 1697 Christian Shaw was 11 and she accused many people of being witches. Seven were condemned to death. In 1722, Christian is obsessed with creating the whitest thread ever seen. But her past keeps haunting her and it’s affecting her state of mind. Will her obsession drive her mad? Or is she already there?

I’ve read several books by Victoria Williamson and enjoyed them. This one is a bit of a miss for me. It’s definitely a dark book. And that’s fine. I don’t mind dark books. But the writing put me off. The constant repetition of certain words is irritating. It’s a different writing style and for this story it probably works for most people, but not me. Christian is a horrid person, but is she that way naturally or did a certain servant push her to that edge? Maybe a bit of both? In any case, she is definitely off her rocker. In modern times she could be given meds to help her mental illness, but back then she only has one person watching her back and trying to keep her in check. The ending is an interesting twist. Nicely done. If you like short stories involving dark characters mentally falling apart then this is the one for you.

Victoria Williamson is an award-winning author who grew up in Scotland surrounded by hills, books, and an historical farm estate which inspired many of her early adventure stories and spooky tales. After studying Physics at the University of Glasgow, she set out on her own real-life adventures, which included teaching maths and science in Cameroon, training teachers in Malawi, teaching English in China and working with children with additional support needs in the UK. Victoria currently works part time writing KS2 books for the education company Twinkl and spends the rest of her time writing novels, and visiting schools, libraries and literary festivals to give author talks and run creative writing workshops.

Victoria’s previous novels include The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, The Boy with the Butterfly Mind, Hag Storm, and War of the Wind. She has won the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award 2020/2021, The YA-aldi Glasgow Secondary School Libraries Book Award 2023, and has been shortlisted for the Week Junior Book Awards 2023, The Leeds Book Awards 2023, the Red Book Award 2023, the James Reckitt Hull Book Awards 2021, The Trinity School Book Awards 2021, and longlisted for the ABA South Coast Book Awards 2023, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020, and the Branford Boase Award 2019.

Her latest novel, The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams, is a middle grade fantasy inspired by classic folklore. Twenty percent of the author royalties for this book are donated to CharChar Literacy, an organisation working to improve children’s literacy levels in Malawi.

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