A Hint Of Witchcraft
Both the title of this novel and the book-jacket blurb suggest a tale of supernatural happenings. But A Hint of Witchcraft is a down-to-earth story, based on very human emotions and actions.
It is set in the 1920s, in the North-Country village of Ashlaw. The protagonist is Margot, daughter of the agent to the local coal-mining company. Margot worships her school friend Linden; soon her brother Alex does too. Their elders frequently remark on Linden’s poise. But Katie, looked upon as the local simpleton, shies away from Linden. At first Margot cannot understand this, but when she learns Linden has been less than truthful, she wonders if Katie is more perceptive than she appears. Then, when pearl beads go missing, precipitating a tragedy which begets more tragedy, Margot becomes convinced that Linden is evil.
This novel of skilfully drawn characters has a convoluted plot, which kept me wondering until the penultimate page. The author shows how misunderstanding can demolish lives, and how small acts, seemingly insignificant, can trigger monumental ones.