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Posts Tagged ‘Helen Steadman’

Hard to believe that we’re half way through the year already, and as we’ve hit this milestone, I figured that it might be a good time to round up some of the great indie books that I’ve featured so far and some of the great authors who have given their time to take part in author interviews or written guest posts for us to read.

Links to each of the Friday features are below, or alternatively if you want to use the search function at the top of the page, just type in the name of the book or author to bring up the relevant page.

Feature Links:
Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech (book feature)
The Twitches Meet a Puppy by Hayley Scott (book feature)
Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie (book feature)
Inborn by Thomas Enger (book feature)
Roz White (author feature)
Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz (book feature)
The Courier by Kjell Old Dahl (book feature)
The Red Light Zone by Jeff Zycinski (book feature)
A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops (book and author feature)
The Silver Moon Storybook by Elaine Gunn (book feature)
Runaway by Claire MacLeary (book feature)
Sunwise by Helen Steadman (book feature)
The Lives Before Us by Juliet Conlin (book feature)
The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh (book and author feature)
Death at The Plague Museum by Lesley Kelly (book feature)
Heleen Kist (author feature)
White Gold by David Barker (book feature)
Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers (book and author feature)
Claire MacLeary (author feature)
A History of Magic and Witchcraft: Sabbats, Satan and Superstitions in the West by Frances Timbers (book feature)
The Killer Across The Table by John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker (book feature)
Maggie Christensen (author feature)

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Today’s post for Celebrating Indie Publishing features a review of a book that I anticipated so eagerly, the follow up to a book that I got at Christmastime and devoured in one day, and in true book addict style, I finished this one in one day too!

  • Title: Sunwise
  • Author: Helen Steadman
  • Publisher: Impress Books
  • Publication Date: 1 April 2019

Early copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy to find her unhappily married to his betrayer, Jane is caught in an impossible situation. Still reeling from the loss of her mother at the hands of the witch-finder John Sharpe, Jane has no choice but to continue her dangerous work as a healer while keeping her young daughter safe.

But, as Tom searches for a way for him and Jane to be together, the witch-finder is still at large. Filled with vengeance, John will stop at nothing in his quest to rid England of the scourge of witchcraft.

Inspired by true events, Sunwise tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly loved Widdershins, so taut and intriguing and found that I connected so strongly with the characters, they haunted my thoughts long after I closed the book and left me wondering the eternal “what if” … So imagine my delight when I discovered that Helen Steadman had written a sequel, and it was due out just a few months later. It’s safe to assume that I let out the odd whoop of delight and instantly began to wonder what fate awaited these beloved characters that I had come to know and worry about.

Picking up from events in Widdershins, Sunwise reconnects the reader with Jane Driver who is slowly getting on with her life after the death of her mother at the hands of John Sharpe, the Scottish witch-finder. Times are hard and there is much danger around, rumours and suspicion are enough to bring someone’s character into question and so Jane feels that she must be careful in her work as a healer and midwife. But more so when her true love Tom arrives back from sea. Tom was press ganged during the course of Widderhins, leaving Jane bereft and open to the deceit of the man she would eventually marry, Andrew Driver. Jane is relieved to discover that Tom did not perish when his ship went down, but distraught to realise that she is trapped in a marriage and there is little that can be done to rectify events.

Running parallel to Jane’s story is that of John Sharpe, the malevolent witch-finder. He believes he is carrying out God’s work to rid the country of witches and their evil ways. The methods he employs are deplorable, his investigations are flawed and his mental state more than questionable, and somehow this malicious character feels larger than life. Steadman brings such a creeping and dark character to life so fluidly that I felt something akin to fear reading the passages of his narration, following his thought processes were frightening, the connections an addled mind made were worrying reading, and I found that the thinking of the period almost made sense given the circumstances and the belief systems in place.

Steadman is a truly gifted writer, vividly setting scenes in each chapter, bringing alive the sights and smells so perfectly. It was hard not to feel transported to the villages and towns as the characters moved around, I could almost smell the ingredients Jane used to make her medicines, feel the heartbreak that Jane and Tom experienced when they realised the impossible situation they were in … incredibly powerful writing that had me struggling to slow down and not race through this book. Taking true events as a basis for her writing, I think it’s fair to say that Helen Steadman has told the story of the period in a way that reflects her knowledge and research well, but also brings to life the superstitious and dark times that are very much part of our history.

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, giveaways and fantastic guest posts!

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