I was going to read this later in the month but when it arrived through my letter box I couldn’t wait.
IT’S THE 4TH OF DECEMBER 1591.
On this, the last night of her life, in a prison cell several floors below Edinburgh’s High Street, convicted witch Geillis Duncan receives a mysterious visitor – Iris, who says she comes from a future where women are still persecuted for who they are and what they believe.
As the hours pass and dawn approaches, Geillis recounts the circumstances of her arrest, brutal torture, confession and trial, while Iris offers support, solace – and the tantalising prospect of escape.
Hex is a visceral depiction of what happens when a society is consumed by fear and superstition, exploring how the terrible force of a king’s violent crusade against ordinary women can still be felt, right up to the present day.
It is only recently that I learned how extensive the witch trials in Scotland were, which is pretty shocking, so I was very interested to see how this story which is inspired by the North Berwick witch trials, would unfold. I didn’t expect to feel quite as drawn in and emotionally attached as I did to this story, I honestly went through a gamut of emotions, sadness at what had happened to Geillis, joy that Iris brought her some small comfort and anger at the injustice that was brought to Geillis and countless other women.
The writing was fantastic quite lyrical and poetic at points and it was amazing to see how much of a solid connection was crafted between these two women within a short number of pages, not only did this book manage to tell the story of Geillis and Iris but also the experience of so many women. It felt so relatable, especially given everything that is happening in the world, and showed the battles that we come up against but also the strength that women need to find to oppose them.
This is the first book by Jenni Fagan that I have read but I am already looking forward to diving into some more of her work, as well as looking forward to finding out a bit more about Scotland’s history in future Darkland Tales books.
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