TITLE: The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
RELEASE DATE: 14 March 2013
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Good Friday 1612. Pendle Hill.
A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by a local magistrate. Is it a witches’ Sabbat?
In Lancaster Castle two notorious witches await trial and certain death, while the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter rides to their defence.
Elsewhere a starved child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter makes his way from France to a place he believes will offer him sanctuary.
But will it? And how safe can anyone be in Witch Country?
The North is the dark place.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Daylight Gate is full of mystery and gothic creepiness. Winterson is not one of my favourite writers but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The Daylight Gate is written by an author I could really fall for. I really enjoyed the witchcraft elements and the fact the book is inspired by the real life Pendle Witch Trials. Winterson admits that she has taken liberties with the actual story which is fine and something authors have been doing for centuries. I’m not familiar with the Pendle Witch Trials so have no idea how close or how different this book is. I enjoyed it. Winterson writes gorgeous prose which is a delight to read. The plot isn’t the best and there are some flaws: I was disturbed by the group sex scene shoe-horned in for no discernible reason. I didn’t understand the need to constantly refer to a young child being raped especially when the rapist is later revealed to be her father. I enjoyed some aspects of the plot: Alice discovering that one of the women she lets live on her land for free is a ‘bad’ witch and very dangerous. The flashbacks to Alice’s life and the revelations about her youthful appearance. The Daylight Gate doesn’t work on every level and is essentially a literary author trying to write genre fiction which is hard to pull off. I’ve read much better books and much worse.