Monday, February 16, 2015

The Witch Hunter's Tale

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Publication date: January 6, 2015
St. Martin's Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 320

Series: Book Three, The Midwife Mysteries Series
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as "one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction."

Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.

Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?


I recently read and reviewed The Harlot's Tale, which is the previous book in Sam Thomas' mystery series dealing with the 17th century English midwife Bridget Hodgson.  You can find that review on this blog here. Now that I was caught up on the lives of Bridget and other significant characters, I could go on to read the latest book in the series which I received from the publisher via Net Galley in return for this honest review.

In The Harlot's Tale, Bridget had begun to develop into a kinder and more compassionate individual, but her principles are still very important to her.  In  The Witch Hunter's Tale, Bridget is tested to the breaking point during a witchcraft hysteria that is orchestrated by her ambitious Puritan nephew, Joseph Hodgson.  Bridget has to ask herself whether she values her integrity more than the lives of the people she cares about most. 

In the context of the witchhunt which impacts the entire city, the murder of a prominent alderman at the beginning of the book, seems to recede into the background.  There is very little investigation of the murder.  Events overtake Bridget, and she can only take defensive action against them.  The truth about the murder does eventually surface and it is an important plot development, but neither Bridget nor her resourceful servant Martha can be said to be responsible for uncovering the truth.  

There are few surprises in this novel.  I have read numerous books about Puritan witchcraft hysterias.  They are very similar in their progression and the motives of those who instigate them.  As usual, politics and class antagonism played prominent roles in this witchcraft hysteria. 

The strengths of The Witch Hunter's Tale are its dramatic intensity and Bridget's continuing character growth.  If there is a next novel in this series, it will be absolutely astonishing because there is no single predictable path for Bridget Hodgson in the aftermath of this book.  That's really rather marvelous because she has the freedom to shape her own life for the first time.   I was glad to see a proper resolution that is still open ended.


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About the Author

03_Sam ThomasSam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.

For more information please visit Sam Thomas's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Witch Hunter's Tale Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 9

Tuesday, February 10
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, February 11

Friday, February 13
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, February 16
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, February 17

Wednesday, February 18
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations

Friday, February 20
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, February 23
Interview at Mina's Bookshelf

Tuesday, February 24
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, February 25
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, February 26
Spotlight at Brooke Blogs

Friday, February 27



  1. I enjoy historical mysteries. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.
    Could you let me know how to do the goodreads direct link button? I've looked all over but can't find it at their site.

    1. Elizabeth, the blog tour host provides the html, but if you go to the book's Goodreads page and look to the right...beneath the ads, you'll see the words Share This Book. Click on Share on your website and there are all kinds of html code options. If you're on blogger, you simply switch your post from compose to html and add the code.