Book Review: Sorceress.

Sorceress, by Celia Rees.


This is the sequel to Witch Child which was set in the 1600s and is set up as if this is a historical text with a fictional historian searching for information on a young girl called Mary who had fled England with a group of Puritans after her Grandmother was hanged for being a witch. She was desperate to escape the same accusation, and followed these settlers to America. This book ends as Mary escapes the settlement before they can try her as a witch.

The second book, Sorceress, is where the same historian is gathering information on Mary’s journey after she left the settlement. There is more involvement from this historian and a native girl called Agnes who is believed to be a descendant of Mary but, in my opinion, we don’t see enough of these characters. They are merely the channel by which Mary’s story is told. Alison, the historian, supplies context; Agnes supplies the ‘visions’ which are of Mary’s life as a white girl accepted by the natives, and the problems she faces through her adult life. Particularly once the white men realise there is an English woman living with the natives, who isn’t a captive, and is rumoured to have skills as a sorceress.

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed both books, particularly with all the information on native tribes and how they lived their lives, I preferred how Witch Child was presented. It was a story still told through Alison, but the second book was too fractured. You were constantly pulled out of Mary’s story to then follow Agnes and Alison, when there didn’t seem to be that much happening with them. They were effectively secondary characters that merely offered us the true story. Which is a shame really, as I would have liked to have heard more of Agnes.

Maybe there will be a third book following Agnes next… Whether these are books you plan on reading yourself, or give to your child, I think there is enough for either group to enjoy.


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