The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nell is a Merrybegot: a child conceived on May Day. Children like her are sacred to nature, and it's true that Nell leads a charmed life for a time. But then a new Puritan minister comes to town, bringing fire, brimstone, and two sneaky daughters. When Nell refuses to help the oldest daughter, Grace, rid herself of an unwanted child, Grace decides to get even. She and her sister stage demonstrations of possession, whipping the town and their father into a righteous frenzy. A Witch Hunter is called in, and Nell is sentences to hang. But nature takes care of its own, and the Piskies and the Fairies band together in an unusual act of good will to see Nell safe. Her fate is magical, like the world she inhabits, and it is impossible not to love this spunky witch.
I didn't expect this story to be peppered with actual magic: I thought I was getting into another historical novel. The history is there, don't get me wrong, but there's enough magic to please anyone with an addiction to fairy stories and folk lore. Plus, I always like witch trial stories that aren't set in Salem: the UK had a gory history of murdering women long before those girls on the continent got the fits. All in all, this is one of my new favorites.
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