The Wonderful Discovery of Elizabeth Sawyer
Genre: Historical fiction
The year is 1621: a time of paranoia following the English Reformation. In London’s Newgate prison, Elizabeth Sawyer, the mother of eleven children, lies shackled in her cell. Denounced as a witch, Elizabeth has one last chance to turn the tables on the men who stand in judgement over her. Meet ‘the witch of Edmonton’, and learn her secret.
The year is 1621: a time of paranoia following the English Reformation. In London’s Newgate prison, Elizabeth Sawyer, the mother of eleven children, lies shackled in her cell. Denounced as a witch by her woodland neighbours and condemned to death by the court, Elizabeth has one last chance to make her peace with this world.
By way of confession, she tells the prison chaplain three stories about her life. Chaplain Goodcole at first responds with revulsion. Like the court he condemns Elizabeth as wicked and depraved but as her execution draws near, his opinion shifts. Does this ‘ignorant’ countrywoman know something that he doesn’t? Has she indeed made a wonderful discovery, or has he, as his colleagues suspect, fallen under the spell of a wily and malign witch?
Based on the historical case which inspired the Jacobean play ‘The Witch of Edmonton’, this novel is rooted in the struggles of rural women 400 years ago. Exploring different types of power, it unravels the fear and superstitions surrounding any girl or woman who spoke her mind.
‘The perfect marriage of research and imagination, of historical detail and universal human truth, The Wonderful Discovery of Elizabeth Sawyer will stay with you long, long after you have turned the last page.’ (Glenn Patterson, author of The International)