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The Daylight Gate
Staff Review: The Daylight Gate
It's the best time of year for a suspenseful, spooky story and Jeanette Winterson has just the book for you! "The Daylight Gate" is a fictionalized account of the Trial of the Pendle Witches. In short chapters, Winterson relates the story of Alice Nutter, former student of the great alchemist John Dee and wealthy widow, who is accused of witchcraft, along with her tenants. Winterson weaves a backstory full of alchemy, illicit love and the devil, as she draws the reader into Alice's world full of fear--fear of witches, fear of being discovered to be a Catholic, fear of single wealthy women, who may or may not be harboring a conspirator from the Gun Powder Plot.
Winterson's simple straightforward prose and storytelling are a refreshing change for the author, who is known for her postmodern novels, often with circuitous plots. In addition, it is clear that the author did her due diligence when it comes to research in order to understand her characters and accurately portray the mindset of Jacobean England, including the belief in witchcraft. This setting, on the brink of scientific thought, at the same time mired down in the belief that witches sign their soul away to the Devil is as interesting as the plot itself.
Overall, an excellent look into the mindset of an England on the verge of becoming a fully Protestant land, while battling the joint forces of witches and Catholics.