Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Hiding from the Light - Barbara Erskine

Across the peninsula the mist rolled in, its icy fingers curling up the cliffs. Inside their houses people stirred in their sleep and children cried in the dark.

The parish of Manningtree and Mistley has a dark history. In 1644 Cromwell's Witchfinder General tortured scores of women there, including Liza, the herbalist, whose cottage still stands, and Sarah, daughter of the manor. And the spirits of his victims still haunt the old shop in the High Street, they say.

Emma Dickson gave up her high-flying career to live in Liza's cottage but now, as Helloween approaches, she is being driven half-mad by visions of the terrible past. In despair, Emma turns to the young rector for help but he, too, is in the grip of something inexplicable and dangerous.....

Unfortunately, as a Pagan, I took exception to her presentation of Wicca and making the local witch the baddie as it buys into all the old stereotypical clap-trap about linking Paganism and Wicca with Satanism and Black Magic. Yes it's only a story but this kind of thing continually reinforces all the negative imagery that was perpetuated by the church to stamp out the old religion and which, unfortunately, still persists today in some quarters and is spouted whenever modern Paganism and Wicca are referred to.

What the author seems to have completely ignored is that we (Pagans and Wiccans - and other earth-based belief systems) don't believe in Satan - he's a Christian concept - and that no decent self-respecting Pagan or Wiccan would ever violate the Rede, as was persistently done by the Wiccan in the book. I guess sticking to the real facts would have got in the way of the story *sigh*.

Apart from that exception it was another gripping read from the author, keeping me turning the pages into the early hours and picking it up during the day to find out how it ended.

Book will be registered with Book Crossing and is now available to anyone who would like it. :0)


Julie said...

I hope it didnt spoil your reading too much, i enjoyed this one.

Am reading Whispers in the Sand (egypt one) i'm liking it very much, do you have this one??

Karan said...

I still enjoyed the book, as it was good story - just can't help letting the stereotyping bug me, as it reinforces all the old lies about what Pagans & Wiccans do.
I've got Whispers in my pile of books to read, thanks to Barb. :0) It's one I shall enjoy as I love anything to do with Egypt! LOL

Rachael said...

I wondered if you still have this one?
I need to get a list up of all my books I have available as it feels like I am always asking but not offering,I don't seem to be able to read as fast as you ladies!!