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The Witch of Wykham

Novel by Margaret Carr 1978.

Jenna Ransome is spending two weeks boating on the Fens with her friend Maggie. Much of the reasoning behind the trip is for Maggie to visit her boyfriend Larry who lives at Wykham, a big house in a small village that, until recently, has been run as a boarding house by his sister. But while staying the weekend there, Jenna soon discovers that she is the double of her ancestor, the 'Witch of Wykham'. She was apparently a seventeenth century kitchen maid at Wykham who murdered her lover, the lord of the manor, and was then burned at the stake for witchcraft. But did she do it? Jenna's dreams gradually show her what truly happened, and as the entire village waits for the old legend to repeat itself, Jenna begins to notice that it is the true history that is repeating itself.

This starts off dated and far-fetched, but strangely when we get to what ought to be the far-fetched stuff, it becomes credible and involving. Far too short for the complexity of plot, which carries a number of wonderful twists and turns, it is however held tightly in control by the author, who ends up with an admirable novel on her hands. The other main fault to be found is the lack of introduction to characters: sometimes you're turning pages back to find out just who people actually are. But for an interesting read, you could find far worse than this.


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