Her Kind by Niamh Boyce
A woman seeks refuge for herself and her daughter in the household of a childhood friend.
The friend, Alice Kytler, gives her former companion a new name, Petronelle, a job as a servant, and warns her to hide their old connection.
Before long Petronelle comes to understand that in the city pride, greed and envy are as dangerous as the wolves that prowl the savage countryside. And she realizes that Alice’s household is no place of safety.
Once again, Petronelle decides to flee. But this time she confronts forces greater than she could ever have imagined and she finds herself fighting for more than her freedom …
Tense, moving and atmospheric, Her Kind is a vivid re-imagining of the events leading up to the Kilkenny Witch Trial.
My Review ~
‘Where was the maid of Dame Alice Kytler?’
The novel opens in 1324 Kilkenny, Ireland. There are a wealth of various characters from Bishop Ledrede to Dame Alice and the humble servants such as Petronelle De Midia. We become aware that Alice and Petronelle have a shared past which is shrouded in secrecy. A past they must never speak of…
‘If only it was as easy to stop dreaming as it was to stop speaking’ – Basilia
Basilia is Petronelle’s daughter whom must portray herself as a mute. Which becomes more and more difficult when accusations begin to unsettle all the women. The era is one of female oppression and silence. The women may know more than they can let on. But as women they are forbidden from speaking out…
‘Anyone who speaks against their Bishop is either a lunatic or a heretic’
I found the whole combination of medieval history, Irish history and suspicion very dark and mysterious. The accusations of witchcraft and religious conflict of the era add to the authenticity. History proves, women rarely escaped punishment for their perceived ‘infractions’ against the church and society’s idea of common decency.
While the dialogue may not be 100% historically accurate. The title is one of fiction, it is written to be a fictional re-telling of an historical event. Unfortunately we will never be able to understand the full emotions of the women accused in the various witch trials in Ireland and the UK.
I really enjoyed Basilia’s characterisation and the ending left me open mouthed! 4*