Seventeenth century Scotland. The Presbyterians are convinced that the word of God is not equivalent to the word of King Charles, sitting far away in England. The Black Cuffs are everywhere, rounding up suspected Presbyterians because by the law enforced by Charles Stuart, it is illegal to pray outdoors; you can be fined for not going to the kirk for Sabbath; you can be penalised for denying the authority of the king’s bishops and ministers. Each one suspected of Presbyterianism must go through the Test – or be hanged.
Elizabeth Laird’s The Witching Hour is a powerful novel told from the point of view of young Margaret Blair, more sure of her love for her family and friends than of the word of the Lord. She is not a Covenanter, and does not know what Jesus wants from her. Life is confusing, surrounded as she is by people who are so convinced of their faith that they are willing to die rather than give up their faith. All Maggie wants to do is protect the people she loves.
Laird plunged me into the whirlwind of confusion that Maggie experiences. Maggie, frightened yet brave, strong yet weak, reached out to me. I shuddered with her and prayed with her, biting my lip in times of danger. I felt her helplessness surge within me, and with her, I felt a gentle sense of relief as her own path slowly became clear …
|Title||The Witching Hour|
|Rating (out of 5)||4|