The novel is enthralling and enchanting, hard to put down once you start. In the English country in the seventeenth century, Nell lives with her wisewoman grandmother, the town herbalist, midwife, and spellbringer. Nellis a Merrybegot, a child sacred to nature, born on May Morning. She likes to frolic and hates restraint, which the new minister has brought down upon the town.
The minister's eldest daughter, Grace Madden, is a beautiful, proud, conniving girl. After a secret affair with the blacksmith's son, Grace is pregnant. Fearing the shame will bring down on her family, she pleads to Nell for help in getting rid of the baby. But Nell refuses, suspecting that the unborn might be a Merrybegot like herself.
Suddenly Grace and her younger sister Patience are both shrieking, having fits, and blathering. The minister is beside himself. Grace claims that the Devil has taken over Nell, and that's who is causing her to feel so ill. Accused of being a witch, Nell finds her life in danger. Everything she does can be used against her. Will her life end at the gallows like the many other accused in nearby towns, or will being a child sacred to nature save her life in the end?
This book is great. The characters feel real and the suspense is in every chapter and never lets up, except for the ending which I felt was too easily wrapped up. Nevertheless, this a great book for anyone who enjoys fantasy, historical fiction, or paranormal stories.
This was one of the most interesting fantasy books I ever came across. I reads almost as folk tale rather than a novel. The characters are deep and distinct, and the storyline well-paced an. The story referes to the time when Christianity and pagan beliefs coexisted. Coming from Eastern Europe myself I know how much folklor is still important in lives of people in that part of the world, and many other parts of the world, so I could relate to this story.
Conceived on May Morning, Nell is claimed by the piskies and fairies as a merrybegot, one of their own. She is a wild child; herb gatherer and healer, spell=weaver and midwife...and, some say, a witch.
Grace is everything Nell is not. She is the Puritan minister's daughter; beautiful and refined, innocent and sweet-natured...to those who think they know her. But she is hiding a secret - a secret that will bring everlasting shame to her family should it ever come to light.
A merrybegot and a minster's daughter - two girls who could not have less in common. Yet their fates collide when Grace and her younger sister, Patience, are suddenly spitting pins, struck with fits, and speaking in fevered tongues. The minister is convinced his daughters are the victims of witchcraft. And all signs point to Nell as the source of the trouble...
I really enjoyed this book, although I always have liked books set during that era. I almost don't want to get rid of it!!! But I want another book even more.