"Hope and hopelessness are the themes here, yet underpinning these emotions is the unfairness in which – mainly – women have been viewed simply because they have skills that others do not."
Witchcraft / fictional Drama
Alteria – a mythical kingdom
Not, strictly speaking, historical fiction as the places are imaginary,buttis will be of interest to readers who enjoy reading novels where women were persecuted for alleged witchcraft.
Daintry Brouka is the daughter of Anton, a widower, who is the miller in a small town. Mela is her sister, about four years older than her. Based on a childhood promise, Mela believes that Conrad Accker will one day be her husband but is mortified when Conrad turns his attention to her sister. Love hath no fury …
Anton falls sick and in order to save him, Daintry turns to a mysterious woman for aid. Out of spite, Mela tells the priest that she thinks her sister is a witch, the priest tells the constable and Daintry is arrested.
In the meantime, the old king has died and his son, Prince Henri, succeeds him. But the new king is weak and frivolous, surrounding himself with sycophantic councillors and the flourishing treasury is soon depleted. Unrest is in the air. Caught up in all this is Conrad who, after finishing University, gains a place as assistant to the keeper of the King's Purse – one of the good guys, fortunately.
Daintry, however, having had her sentence of death commuted, is sent to work in the silver mines of Katangar, yet she still holds onto the hope that she might escape or be rescued by Conrad. But once she is branded, she knows that even if the miracle were to happen, Conrad would never marry someone with such a mark.
Hope and hopelessness are the themes here, yet underpinning these emotions is the unfairness in which – mainly – women have been viewed simply because they have skills that others do not. Add to that the terrible indignities and, often, deaths, that were inflicted upon them, we have a feeling of the terror that probably thousands of women of so many eras, ages and locations must have felt when accused unjustly of 'witchcraft'.
© Richard Tearle
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