I have a lot of feelings for this book and not much I can say about it other than just…wow. I have a sneaky suspicion that this time next year, it’ll be right up there with my favourites from 2020.
This is Laura Bates’ first foray into fiction and it’s a bloody good one. It is all about a teenage girl called Anna who is desperately hoping for a fresh start. She’s in a new school, a new town – even a new country – and she’s determined to put the past behind her. During her fresh start, she begins to research a tale of a local witch hunt.
What follows is a series of striking and clever parallels between Anna’s treatment in the 21st century and Maggie’s experiences in the 17th century. Bates is able to discuss complicated images to do with the way woman are treated and condemned with a brilliant fluidity. This isn’t preachy but it is definitely powerful. It is easy to imagine the impact this can have and the discussions that will follow it. Necessary and important discussions that we unfortunately still need to have.
I think that this is a book that a lot of people need to read, particularly teenage girls. It is uplifting and empowering and unsettling all at once.
It is testament to Bates’ abilities as a writer that she is able to discuss such complex issues with a remarkable ease. They are woven into a story about friendship, trust and love brilliantly.
Paradoxically, I can’t think of how else to show my limitless love for this book! It has quite literally left me speechless and with a bit of a book hangover.
Isn’t that the sign of a great book?