The Witchfinder's  Sister - Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder's Sister

By Beth Underdown

  • Release Date: 2017-03-02
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4
From 89 Ratings


'The number of women my brother Matthew killed is one hundred and six...'


'A compelling debut from a gifted storyteller' Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.

To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

Winner of the HWA Debut Crown Award 2017, and a Spring 2018 Richard and Judy Book Club pick, this beautiful and haunting historical thriller is perfect for fans of Sarah Waters, The Miniaturist and Burial Rites.

'Vivid and terrifying' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

'A clever, pacey read that blends truth and fiction...what elevates this book above other historical thrillers are the questions that Underdown asks about the nature of power, fear and how easy it is to become complicit in terrible acts' The Times

'A chilling, creeping novel with very obvious parallels to more modern forms of witch-hints and misogyny, but is still firmly rooted in an England torn apart by civil war and gripped by religious fervour' Red

'A haunting, brooding debut' Psychologies

'At once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller' Patrick Gale

'A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel' Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

'Anyone who liked Cecilia Ekback's Wolf Winter is going to love this' Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

'Beth Underdown grips us from the outset and won't let once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller' Patrick Gale, author of Notes from an Exhibition

'A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel' Ian McGuire, author of The North Water

'Beth Underdown cleverly creates a compelling atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia... Even from the distance of nearly four hundred years, her Matthew Hopkins is a genuinely frightening monster' Kate Riordan

'A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel' Ian McGuire, author of The North Water

'Superb: dark, terrifying and utterly compelling' Tracy Borman

'A novel for our times. Beth Underdown's The Witchfinder's Sister explores another time and another place to lay bare the visceral horror of what a witch hunt truly is' New York Times Book Review

'Entertaining and thought-provoking, with a valuable message for our own times' Washington Post


  • A page turning delight!

    By Jmkc1983
    What a read! Each chapter was enlightening, detailed and atmospheric. The description during the execution at Chelmsford stood out to me as the author really captures the 'disposable' aspect of these poor women subjected to such horrors. I'm sad to have finished it so quickly but, I couldn't put it down.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed it

    By Blusoxsorbet
    Really good book, decent plot, great writing
  • The Witch Finder’s Sister

    By Memomemome
    Excellent well crafted read. The horror of humans gone bad, with just enough hint of supernatural. Wonderful twists to the tale, time and time again. I loved this book. I was reminded a little of the style and quality of Hillary Mantel. Are you following the story to Salem....... I do hope so.
  • Tedious

    By Uladh
    This was sooo tedious. After all the glowing reviews, I feel cheated.
  • Bit flimsy

    By Footsy100
    Lacked a bit of substance a bit fanciful. Not a terrible read.