I loved this book! I found the subject matter completely fascinating and I was engrossed from start to finish. Widdershins follows two characters, Jane, a young apprentice midwife/healer, and John, a zealous witch-hunter on what he believes to be a mission from God. It centres around the persecution of women for practising midwifery and using plants as medicines, and, despite being a fictional account, there is a hard-hitting truth behind the story.
This book was extremely well-written and the alternating perspectives were distinctive, which is always something I look for when books feature more than one POV. Both Jane and John had clear voices that felt natural, and I feel the author did an excellent job of capturing the dual perspective.
I really loved reading about Newcastle and the surrounding area, having grown up there and thus recognising places I had been. Though it was hard to imagine anyone walking from Newcastle to Durham! I liked the Geordie colloquialisms that the author included and I definitely think they added to my reading experience. I’d be interested to know how readers not from the North East of England found it and if they understood all of the phrases!
I thought the relationship between Jane and Tom was lovely, and I also enjoyed seeing John’s progression from a kind young boy to a zealous witch-hunter. Steadman didn’t pull any punches and some scenes were uncomfortable to read but in a way that added to the already brilliant story.
This was a superb debut and I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Has anyone else read this one? Did you understand all of the Geordie words?!