Are you a fan of historical fiction? Perhaps you enjoy action, adventure and even the supernatural? If you answered in the affirmative to any of these questions, then Sister Witch: The Life of Moll Dyer, may be just what you are looking for!
The story is focused upon the main character, Moll Dyer, who travels to Maryland from England with her Uncle Sean. She is basically forced to leave as she had been assaulted and left pregnant by her attacker. For an unwed woman to be in such a state would only bring shame and persecution to her family, and a new life in America was the only viable option. For the sake of her family, both Moll and her Uncle needed to escape from their past so they could start anew.
During the journey to America, Moll befriends a couple named Beth and Gideon who were expecting their first baby. However, it becomes a disastrous trip for Beth who is often ill and in a very poor state of health. Moll attempts to help Beth by teaching her about the medicinal benefits of roots and plants. Tragically, both Beth and the baby pass away leaving the husband Gideon totally distraught. In such a state he accuses Moll of being a witch and causing his wife’s death. These accusations are a pivotal point in the novel as they will follow Moll to her new home in America.
After a journey filled with hardship and heartache, Moll and Sean settle in Maryland and begin to build a farm together in which to raise Moll’s unborn child. Moll soon gives birth to a boy she names Zachary and passes him off as her brother to the villagers. The unorthodox family continues to farm their land and grow their presence in the area. However, times are difficult for the colony and when a devastating illness and epidemic arise, “Moll the Witch” becomes and easy scapegoat.
Will Moll and her family survive such persecution? Will the colony drive her from the life she has tried so hard to build? Or will Moll convince them otherwise and help to heal their ills? The answer is both intriguing and provocative.
Undoubtedly, the author has done very diligent research when composing this novel. The story of Moll Dyer is legendary and actually inspired the plot of the film “The Blair Witch Project.” However, this story is about much more than witchcraft and persecution. While it is certainly reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials, the plot and setting is far more variegated. In his work, Sister Witch, David Thompson aptly explores a variety of historical issues such as slavery, religious intolerance and the issue of women’s rights. Such significant and perplexing topics are expertly weaved into this spellbinding and fascinating story which comes to us from the mind of the author. It takes a great deal of skill to make that happen. Moll as the heroine of the story, who is maliciously maligned throughout, is very believable and she grows in her credibility with each passing page. The secondary characters whether they be friends such as Nema and Bluebird, or foes in the form of Peter or Gideon at the outset, are also very well presented and and add elements of love, loyalty, hatred and revenge.
In regards to an appropriate audience for this novel, I would place it at a young adult and up. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read for that group, but certain explicit scenes make it inappropriate for younger readers. History buffs and fans of the supernatural alike will find a lot to enjoy in this work. Also, the theme of sacrifice for others stands out as very prominent and convincing.
5 Unearthly Stars for this one! *****