An intriguing tale that takes place during the English Civil War about The Witch Finder General, Matthew Hopkins. The village of Hopton is shaken by a death and witchcraft is suspected as the cause. Matthew and his crew find themselves embroiled in a very confusing situation compounded by many factors that make this case very difficult for all involved. The author does a fine job in rendering the hysteria, the fear and the hatred that the villagers feel towards the accused. The characters are portrayed in a way that takes the reader into the mindset of this unfortunate time period of inquisition and religious fanaticism. The story starts out to be a straight forward example of a superstitious accusation but the author entwines other human frailties and emotions into the mix making for entertaining plot twists. This is certainly a page turning delight to read. 4.3 stars
To quote (sort of) The Most Interesting Man in the World, “I don’t always read about The English Civil War, but when I do, I like to read about Hollie (Rosie) Babbitt.” This is book 5 in the Uncivil War series by M.J. Logue and I continue to be impressed with the style, the language, the plot lines and the development of the characters. The author brings to life what the war did to both sides in this edition as the Parliamentarian’s take control of Cornwall, a region that would rather not be part of either side in the war. Colonel Babbitt returns to the fray much to the chagrin of Het, his wife and this rough, professional soldier must battle not only a siege but also his tangled emotions. The manner in which he finally understands and the healing of his troubled mind comes from a most unusual source; I will say no more on that other than I was entranced by this portion of the story. Also intriguing is the relationship between Hapless, the Brat and Rosie…it just gets better with every book. Hoover Book Reviews highly recommends this very entertaining series. 5 stars.
For those of you keeping score, this is the fourth book of the series but chronologically it falls before the third book. This one revolves around the Battle of Selby militarily, and the plight and antics of Thankful Russell, Trooper Gray and Cornet Luce Pettit, along with a smattering of homelife for Rosie Babbitt and his good wife Het. As this is the fourth volume, I have had ample time to adjust to and admire the author’s somewhat unique writing style and have come to love the way she uses the local dialects and patois of the characters in the books to the point where I have found myself thinking in Drew Venning’s Norfolk idiom or Hollie’s Puritan voice. Not a bad thing, but can be detrimental when writing work related emails and words like summat or nowt or the term Thee want to creep into the missive. 🙂 The Selby battle is brilliantly portrayed from the perspectives of Hollie and the three “amigos”, Thankful, Gray and Luce. The chaos of a cavalry charge in the confines of town streets, the brutality of pikemen versus longswords and battle bred horses and the twists of fate are high points in the story’s telling. Another salient aspect of the author’s skill is the continuing growth and development of her characters. Poignant and exciting, The Smoke of Her Burning is an excellent addition to this wonderful series. 5 stars