Monday, August 1, 2022

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Hemlock Cure, by Joanne Burn {ends 8/8}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

From the pantry, Mae hears the knocking.

‘See who it is!’ shouts Father. He is explaining to Sam about the humoral system, and the two of them are sitting at the kitchen table looking at a diagram of the human body.

Mae goes through to the lobby, pulling the door closed behind her to keep the warmth of the kitchen in. The key hangs from its nail and, taking it, she slips it into the lock, turning it easily, the ironwork of the door handle cold in her palm.

Isabel is backlit by the sun, her eyes the bright blue of forget-me-nots.

‘Mae.’

‘I cannot ask you in.’

‘You explained last time.’

Mae knows her life would be much better if her mother and her sister hadn’t died. Life with her father is hard, but it may be even worse than she thinks.

Official summary:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Hemlock Cure, by Joanne Burn {ends 8/8}
A glitteringly dark historical novel of love, persecution, and survival set against the backdrop of one of history's most terrifying episodes: the Bubonic Plague.

It is 1665 and the women of Eyam village keep many secrets. Especially Isabel and Mae.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about the pious, reclusive apothecary, on whom she is keeping a watchful eye.

Mae, the apothecary's youngest daughter, dreads her father's rage if he discovers what she keeps from him: her feelings for Rafe, Isabel's ward, or the fact that she studies from her father's books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril. Meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all. . . 

After Mae’s mother died, she started hanging out regularly with her mother’s friends, Isabel and Elizabeth. Her father especially did not approve of Isabel, the village’s midwife, who he held responsible for the death of any brothers Mae may have had. 

Soon, the plague hits their small village. Mae’s father encourages prayer and a few remedies he offers as the apothecary. When Isabel’s husband goes to London to help other family members, pregnant Isabel watches Mae’s home life get worse and worse. Should someone help Mae? And if so, how? Standing up to an apothecary with an upstanding reputation is risky for any woman, but especially one with a sketchy past for herself.

This was a great book about female empowerment when it seemed impossible. I loved Mae’s spirit and gave the book 4 out of 5 stars. This book could be recommended to any reader who wants to read more about a period of history about which not a lot of books are written. The author includes a note at the back that credits some characters based on real people from that period.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is always a wife and mom first. Check out her posts about what she’s reading and enjoying in her yard on Instagram, where she posts as PoshBecki.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Hemlock Cure!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, August 8th, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be chosen the next day and notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Hemlock Cure, by Joanne Burn

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