Thursday, 6 February 2014

Witch Light by Susan Fletcher

I picked up this book in my favourite bookshop, the Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey. When the wonderful Marjory got to it in my rather large pile of booty (see below) she was full of praise, making me promise I would e-mail my thoughts when I finished it.  So expectations were high.

Heck, expectations were high based on a number of facts: The book is about a young woman being accused of witchcraft in the 17th century, a subject I've been interested in since school.  A large part of the novel takes place in Glencoe around the massacre, an area I love and a historical event that morbidly fascinates many, myself included.  All this expectation was weighing on me so despite my initial excitement I shelved this and left it to cool off for a couple of months.

I shouldn't have bothered, this book didn't just exceed my expectations it smashed them.  I can't even begin to describe what I liked best, I still haven't come close to deciding.  Witch Light has everything.  The interwoven stories of Corrag and Charles Leslie and the impact their meeting has on the other are compelling and would be enough alone to have had me waxing lyrical but the way in which Susan Fletcher writes is just mesmerising, lyrical and poetic.  I can't recall ever having read something that transported me so completely.  3D writing, I was there seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling as Corrag.

Then like the icing on the cake, the theme of love being Corrag's true magic.  Not just her love for Alasdair but the healing powers of allowing herself to love first her grey mare, then Glencoe and it's people and ultimately how her story enchants Charles Leslie and transforms the dour, hate filled church man.  His later letters home to his wife are heart wrenchingly beautiful and such a contrast to those we first read.

I don't think I've read anything that comes close to this book and if I'm honest I'm not sure I ever will again.  I don't mind.  Witch Light was good enough to keep me warm for lots of cold Glencoe winter nights to come, but I am winter born!

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