The Witch in the Well
Over a hundred years ago, the citizens of F- did something rather bad. And local school teacher Catherine Evans has made writing the definitive account of what happened when Ilsbeth Clark drowned in the well her life’s work.
The town’s people may not want their past raked up, but Catherine is determined to shine a light upon that shameful event. For Ilsbeth was an innocent, after all. She was shunned and ostracised by rumour-mongers and ill-wishers and someone has to speak up for her. And who better than Catherine, who has herself felt the sting and hurt of such whisperings?
But then a childhood friend returns to F -. Elena is a successful author whose book, The Whispers Inside: A Reawakening of the Soul, has earned her a certain celebrity. In search of a new subject, she takes an interest in the story of Ilsbeth Clark and announces her intention to write a book about the long-dead woman, focusing on the natural magic she believes she possessed.
And Elena has everything Catherine has not, like a platform and connections and no one seems to care that Elena’s book will be pure speculation, tainting Ilsbeth’s memory rather than preserving it. Catherine is determined that something must be done and plots to blunt her rival’s pen. However she had not allowed for the fact that the past might not be so dead after all – that something is reaching out from the well, disturbing her reality.
Before summer’s over, one woman will be dead, the other accused of murder . . . but is she really guilty, or are there other forces at work? And who was Ilsbeth Clark, really? An innocent? A witch? Or something else entirely?
True to form, Camilla Bruce has spun a slippery yet beguiling spell with this cleverly crafted and intoxicating tale of female rivalry and folklore. A startling and original plot is woven around a cast of gleefully unpleasant characters - I was gripped from the very first page. -- LUCIE McKNIGHT HARDY, author of Water Shall Refuse Them Haunting and harrowing . . . I couldn't look away. -- ALIX E. HARROW, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
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