The Witch Hunter's Tale Blog Tour and Review

Please join Sam Thomas as he tours the blogosphere for The Witch Hunter’s Tale, the third novel in his Midwife Mysteries, from February 9-27.
witch hunter's tale_MECH_01.inddThe Witch Hunter's Tale by Sam Thomas
Publication date: January 6, 2015
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 320
Series: Book Three, The Midwife Mysteries SeriesGenre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review.
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Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction.”
Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.
Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?

My Take:

I haven't read the previous book in The Midwife Mysteries by Sam Thomas, but when the opportunity presented itself, I agreed to read and review The Witch Hunter's Tales because I am always interested in historical fiction dealing with the witch hunts. I was pleasantly surprised that the novel deals with more than just the hunting of witches though. I found Bridget Hodgson to be a complicated, intelligent and worthy protagonist and her deputy Martha is an admirable assistant.

Despite the fact that I missed many of their previous adventures, I still enjoyed their story very much. There is enough background so that I didn't feel lost, but it also didn't bog down the current story. I enjoyed how complicated the story became after the idea of witches in their midst became the topic of conversation and sermons from the pulpit. The way the fear was stirred up and the flames of panic were fanned by the unscrupulous and conniving pair, Joseph Hodgson and Rebecca Hooke was quite masterful. That pair are just reprehensible and have no redeeming qualities -- which make them great villains. 

Despite the injustice of the situation, the fearful townspeople are willing participants in the hunts and I thought Thomas did a good job of explaining all the various motivations and complications that played into the situation. In the midst of all the chaos, and Martha are still performing their midwife duties, and that aspect of the novel was quite interesting as well. Sometimes we tend to forget how dangerous childbirth was and also how much of a community event it could be - with all the neighbor women or gossips gathered around. 

I liked the fact that neither Bridget or Martha are presented as perfect; they are presented as intelligent, caring, and wise to the ways of politics and government, but not without their own points of weakness. The history of their loss of faith in the workings of government are explained and it is hard to fault some of their decisions despite the unlawfulness of some of them. At the same time, they wrestle with the implications of their actions and the results. Needless to say, the book causes the reader to think - which is always a good thing. Unlike some books, things are not really black and white - no one is all good or all bad -- well, some people may actually be all bad. . .

I enjoyed the book and read it very quickly, but without the anxious feeling caused by some books. I was able to enjoy the mystery/crime solving while also enjoying the depiction of the historical period presented in the story. I have put the first two book in the series on my TBR list and I hope to read them in the near future. I definitely recommend The Witch Hunter's Tale to anyone who is interested in reading historical fiction in general, but especially about the witch hunts, or Puritan England and/or the English Civil War period. 

Praise for the Midwife Mysteries Series

“Sam Thomas has created one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction—a crime-solving, wealthy, widowed midwife in embattled 17th-century York, England. . . . Bridget is as fascinating, fun and fierce as ever.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Harlot’s Tale”Besides making his heroine a plausible sleuth, Thomas conveys the challenges of midwifery without clumsy exposition.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Harlot’s Tale
“As pleasurable as his mystery is, the true thrill here is Thomas’s lively portrait of 1644 York and his unique heroine.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Midwife’s Tale
“A briskly plotted historical mystery starring a pair of brave, tenacious, intelligent women who take no prisoners and make no apologies.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of Gods of Gotham
“Thomas is a historian by profession and it shows in the wealth of detail with which he recreates the city of York amid the turmoil of the English civil war.” —Rhys Bowen, author of the bestselling Royal Spyness series
“A heart-stopping page-turner coupled with a gritty and realistic portrayal of two strong and contrasting woman characters vividly depicted against the backdrop of the besieged city of York.” —Cora Harrison, author of I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend
“The gripping story, fascinating characters, and intriguing era make Thomas’s debut mystery a reader’s delight.” —Priscilla Royal, author of The Killing Season
“Thomas’s fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwife’s skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Midwife’s Tale
“Everything rings true in historian Thomas’s superb first mystery. . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit’s intelligently concealed clues.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Midwife’s Tale

Buy the Book

About the Author03_Sam Thomas

Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.
For more information please visit Sam Thomas’s website. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

The Witch Hunter’s Tale Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 9
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Spotlight at What Is that Book About
Tuesday, February 10
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, February 11
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing
Friday, February 13
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Monday, February 16
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, February 17
Review & Interview at The Emerald City Book Review
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Wednesday, February 18
Review at Back Porchervations
Thursday, February 19
Interview at Back Porchervations
Friday, February 20
Review at Build a Bookshelf
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, February 23
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, February 24
Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, February 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, February 26
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Spotlight at Brooke Blogs
Friday, February 27
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
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