Witches are Real, says Acclaimed Historical Fiction Author

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With Halloween right around the corner, thoughts often turn to fright-night characters such as goblins, witches and ghosts. But far from dwelling in the realm of fairy tale and folklore, what if some of these spooky specters were real? That’s what Minnesota author Mary Sharratt found out when she moved to the Pendle region of Lancashire, England.

Mary Sharratt, author of DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL

As I sought to uncover the bones of Mother Demdike's story, I was drawn into a lost world of mystery and magic. Every stereotype I'd held of historical witches was dashed to pieces. Mother Demdike became a true presence, a shining light in my life.

With Halloween right around the corner, thoughts often turn to fright-night characters such as goblins, witches, and ghosts. But far from dwelling in the realm of fairy tale and folklore, what if some of these spooky specters were real? That’s what Minnesota author Mary Sharratt found out when she moved to the Pendle region of Lancashire, England.

Pendle Hill is steeped in its legends of the Lancashire witches. In 1612, in one of the most meticulously documented trials in English history, seven women and two men from Pendle Forest were hanged as witches. Sharratt’s novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) interweaves well-researched historical details with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family love, and betrayal in what Historical Novels Review called “perfectly plotted, impressive, and full of tension…most assuredly a bewitching tale.” The book also received Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.

“The wild, brooding landscape of Pendle Hill, my adopted home, gave birth to my new novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, which tells the true story of Elizabeth Southerns, cunning woman, more commonly known by her nickname, Mother Demdike,” says Sharratt. “As I sought to uncover the bones of her story, I was drawn into a lost world of mystery and magic. Every stereotype I’d held of historical witches and cunning folk was dashed to pieces. Mother Demdike became a true presence, a shining light in my life.”

DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL is now available in hardcover. The paperback will be released in January 2011. Sharratt’s website is http://marysharratt.com.

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Diane Saarinen

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