Elizabeth Lee

Cunning Women
  • Cunning Women

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    ONE OF GRAZIA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2021

    '[A] powerful story of forbidden love ... a tense and atmospheric ride' Daily Mail

    'With a painfully unexpected ending, this is a story about loneliness, connection and female rage that fans of intensely atmospheric historical fiction will love.' Stylist

    'Witches and the dread they inspired are captured here with chilling deftness.' Woman and Home

    'Timely in its depiction of hysteria and persecution, and beautifully evokes a historical period poised between dark ignorance and long-overdue enlightenment.' Observer

    'A thrilling read. But, beyond the thrill, is the beauty of the language . . . A pleasure to read - with an undercurrent of genuine fear' Annie Garthwaite, author of Cecily
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    When it is no longer safe to be a witch, they call themselves cunning.

    Seventeenth-century Lancashire is a dark and mistrustful place. Ten years after the notorious Pendle witch trials saw ten accused witches hanged, young Sarah Haworth and her family live as outcasts in a ruined hamlet. The inhabitants of the nearby village despise 'cunning folk' like them, but their services - healing balms, herbal remedies - will always be in demand, and they have a way of coming to know all the village's secrets.

    A chance meeting sees Sarah become acquainted with Daniel, a young man from the village. In him, she sees a clever, caring man; in her, he sees not the strange, dirty outcast he knows he should, but rather the strong young woman coming into her own.

    As they are drawn closer together, a new magistrate arrives in the area to investigate a spate of strange deaths befalling the villagers. Inevitably, his eye falls on Sarah's family, and his hand carries a burning torch. In the face of persecution, something as fragile as love seems impossible...
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    'Wonderfully original . . . devastating . . . and fabulously atmospheric' Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den

    'A haunting tale with a brutal twist' Emily Brand, author of The Fall of the House of Byron

    'An impressive debut . . . beautifully relevant'
    Kate Mascarenhas

    'Beautiful, tense (at points breathless!)' Kate Sawyer, author of The Stranding

    'I'm delighted that there's already been a lot of buzz about this debut' Marian Keyes

Elizabeth Lee won the Curtis Brown Creative Marian Keyes Scholarship, and her work has been selected for the Womentoring Project and Penguin’s WriteNow Live. She lives in Warwickshire.

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