“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.” From: On Lies, Secrets, and Silence by Adrienne Rich
Altha is a 21-year-old woman who, in 1619, is accused of, and tried for, witchcraft in her small English village. She is a healer, like her mother before her. Her mother was long suspected of being a witch for daring to have a greater understanding of biology and physiology than the local doctor. In a small village, that suspicion grows and festers until blame is laid upon Altha for the death of a farmer trampled by his herd.
Violet is a naïve, but inquisitive, 16 year old, who is kept largely sequestered by her father on their estate in early 1940s England. With few visitors, and little attention from her father, Violet focuses her attention on the flora, fauna, and insects of her family’s estate and dreams of attending university to become an entomologist.
Kate is a 29-year-old woman who flees an abusive relationship in London when her great-aunt, whom she only met a single time, bequeaths her a cottage in a small village outside of the city. As Kate settles into the cottage, and begins to create a new life, she learns about the woman that facilitated her means of escape, and the family about whom she knows nothing.
In this powerful debut novel, Emilia Hart tells the stories of three women, separated by centuries and generations, who share experiences, intuitions, and, above all, a desire to be free. Hart illustrates not only how women of every generation have been subjected to the will and ire of men, but also how those men have knowingly and willfully made themselves obstacles for women to overcome. While there may be male allies in a woman’s life, they are often few and far between. The result is women learning, sometimes subtly, and sometimes overtly, how to retaliate and fight for their freedom, and others, to live their lives as they choose.
For more information, read an interview with the author.