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This is a review of The Witch's Trinity written by Erica Mailman.
The book is set in Germany in 1507 during the second year of a famine and follows an elderly woman called Gude who lives with her son Jost his wife Irmeltrud and there two children Matern and Alke. Food is in short supply and the family are slowly starving. Irmeltrud begrudges Gude the small amount of food that they need to give her and makes no secret of her discontent with the situation.
The village is starting to get desperate, the old ways of praying to the sun and sacrificing animals to bring a good harvest are no longer working, and the Runes foretell more suffering to come. Then a Dominican friar arrives at the village and begins to talk of God punishing the villagers for the sins of one person by withholding the harvest from all.
In no time at all the word witch is being bandied about, a chicken won't lay and blame is set at the door of an elderly woman called Kunne Himmelmann. Kunne is tried for a witch and obviously found guilty. Is this the end of the villager's problems?
I enjoyed this book immensely, the relationship between Gude and her daughter in-law Iremeltrud is quite complex, the story explains how when Irmeltrud was looking to marry Jost (the village Miller) she looked to please Gude constantly but once the marriage had taken place Irmeltrude no longer felt the need to please Gude and she soon soured towards her and makes no secret of it. When food becomes short she wonders aloud why Gude is still alive when her parents of the same age are long dead. At one point Irmeltrude kicks Gude out of the house and tells her to go begging and put some food on the table.
Unfortunatly for Gude she is very old and has started to have problems with her memory, is Irmeltrud being unfair to her? or is it her imagination. When out in the woods looking for food Gude sees what she thinks is a coven of witches and is afraid for her soul.
When Kunne Himmelmann is accused of witchery she is given what is obviously an unfair trial, villagers who have known Kunne all there lives and have always been more than happy to use her herbal remedies sit and watch as she fails the task given to her to prove her innocence. The villagers sincerely believe that the trial and death of this elderly woman who is in league with the devil will end all there suffering.
When the famine continues it is obvious to all who the next witch is and it is only a matter of time till the finger is pointed at Gude.
The way the villagers get wrapped up in the frenzy of hunting witches plays out exactly as I imagined it would, fingers are pointed, false accusations are made and false confessions are given in a desperate attempt to save lives.
I really enjoyed the twist in the plot and can honestly say Irmeltrud got what she deserved. Most of the time I felt sorry for Gude, her confusion and fear that she may in fact be in league with the devil is portrayed well and the cruelty of Irmeltrude only compounds what is already a desperate situation.
When the men leave on a hunting expedition things only get worse, the entire village is hysterical, fearing that the men are dead and they are going to starve, in the whole book the only person who seems content and well fed is the friar and in the end the village realise that it is in fact him, causing upset and disturbance in the village and he gets the ending I feel that all the witch hunters should of got.
This is a really well written book and I truly enjoyed it, after reading it the first time I picked it straight back up and started again.
Buy it, borrow it or put it on your wish list, just make sure you read it.
Thank you for reading X