Review Blog

Jan 26 2017

Hexen Haus by Nikki McWatters

cover image

University of Queensland Press, 2016. ISBN 9780702254253
Highly recommended for anyone interested in history. This is the story of three young women across time, joined by the Systir Saga and accusations of witchcraft.
Veronica watched her father burn at the stake for the crime of being an accused witch. The authorities say that he confessed but Veronica knows the tortures he endured for that confession to be torn from him. Together with his letter, she and her brother Hans must venture out on their own to avoid the fate that usually awaited the children of witches. They must escape before they too are burned. Through a happy accident they find sanctuary with a healer in a forest, but their peaceful life comes under threat when Christoff, a woodchopper, is on the verge of death and Veronica must venture into unfamiliar territory unescorted.
Katherine struggles to find a new way of life as she joins her sister as a servant for a wealthy family. Clashing with the children while hiding a secret Jacobite beau, her life is endangered by the antics of a local priest on the hunt for Jacobites. He convinces one of the children to put on a show of being possessed and to name Katherine as a witch - giving her just one possible future - Hexen Haus - and a release into the flames.
Paisley just wants a peaceful life, but with a self-confessed witch for a mother is that really possible? When one of the local boys falls into a trance-like state after visiting her mother for a spiritual consultation, the gossip begins. Maybe she really is a witch? What did she do to the poor Hooper boy? Worse, when the Hooper boy goes missing Paisley's mother becomes subject to a police investigation - but that is nothing in comparison with the family's new pariah-like status in the community.
This is a particularly intriguing read which weaves in modern issues of prejudice with the haunting presence of the European witch trials. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in history, particularly that of witch trials and the Jacobite rebellion.
Kayla Gaskell, 20

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