The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett (2021)
The truth can be dangerous in the wrong hands…
1661, North Berwick, Scotland One stormy night, healer Honor Seton and her daughter Alice are summoned to save the town lord's wife – but they're too late. A vengeful crusade against the Seton women leads to whispers of witchcraft all over town. Honor hopes her connections can protect them from unproven rumours and dangerous accusations – but is the truth finally catching up with them?
Present day, North Berwick, Scotland After an explosive scandal lands her husband in prison, Tess Blyth flees Edinburgh to start afresh in Thistle Cottage. As she hides from the media’s unforgiving glare, Tess is intrigued by the shadowy stories of witchcraft surrounding the women who lived in the cottage centuries ago. But she quickly discovers modern-day witch hunts can be just as vicious: someone in town knows her secret – and they won’t let Tess forget it…
A hauntingly compelling timeslip novel from the author of The Girl in the Picture, perfect for fans of The Forgotten Village and The Witchfinder’s Sister.
This was a fast-moving story and a light read despite the heavy theme. The women in both timelines face prejudice, animosity and threats fuelled by mass hysteria and a mob mentality. The story shows how lies and gossip can have devastating and far-reaching consequences whether spread by word of mouth or on social media.
I enjoyed the witches storyline. Knowing what historically happened to women like them I couldn't shake the foreboding sense of doom facing Honor and her daughter.
The present timeline had a similar feel but I didn't have the same fear for Tess and Jen as they had the privilege of having rights and the protection of law enforcement.
I felt that the ending was rushed a little bit with everything working out too neatly for all involved. However, this was a book I found difficult to put down. I loved the historical elements and the dual timelines.