New release! For readers of Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel, an immersive literary debut inspired by historical events—a deadly witch hunt in 17th-century England—that claimed many innocent lives.
East Anglia, 1645. Martha Hallybread, a midwife, healer, and servant, has lived peacefully for more than four decades in her beloved coastal village of Cleftwater. Rendered voiceless as a child, Martha has not spoken a word in years.
One autumn morning, a sinister newcomer appears. The witchfinder, Silas Makepeace, has been blazing a trail of destruction along the coast, and now has Cleftwater in his sights. His arrival strikes fear into the heart of the community. Within a day, local women are being captured and detained, and Martha finds herself a silent witness to the hunt.
Powerless to protest, Martha is enlisted to search the accused women for “devil’s marks.” Now she is caught between suspicion and betrayal, having to choose between protecting herself or condemning the women of the village. In desperation, she revives a wax witching doll that belonged to her mother, in the hope that it will bring protection. But the doll’s true powers are unknowable, Martha harbors a terrible secret that could cost her own freedom, and the gallows are looming...
Set over the course of just a few weeks that forever change the people of this village, The Witching Tide offers powerful and psychologically astute insights about the exigencies of friendship and the nature of loyalty, and heralds the arrival of a striking new voice in fiction.
By Margaret Meyer. Hardcover. 336 pages. Published by Scribner, 2023.