Wow I had no idea until the end that this was based on a real person! The way you seamlessly wove history and fiction together is truly remarkable. This is honestly an amazing story. And your writing style in this - Let me gush about how beautiful your words are for like 5 hours. The detail, the way I can really feel the setting, the way you used a lot of archaic words and all of it adds up to this magnificent whole. it's all perfect. How do you write this well? Teach me!
The beginning of this story is so heartbreaking, as Jennet honestly thinks what she's doing will help her family. Without really saying her age, it's obvious how young she is here because reading what she's having to say - it's clear to me that it won't work, that what she's saying will condemn them, but she's young enough to believe a person with authority and not question it at all. And her family suffers, and then she's all alone. It's so sad :'(
The section with Jennet wandering alone and trying to escape her past is so lonely - how her mistakes seem to follow her everywhere and she's stuck in poverty with no way to get out, with no education and no family and really nothing going for her.
When the man came to the house to invite Lizzy to Hogwarts I just felt so bad because those words are the worst possible thing Jennet could hear at that point, like a trigger for all this trauma and shame from her past. I think people at Hogwarts get a bit isolated, because he didn't seem to grasp that Jennet wasn't just shocked or against the idea of magic, she was terrified for her family's safety and rumours following them when she's finallly escaped all of that. And Lizzy, poor Lizzy doesn't know anything about the past and is so excited to be making green swirls with a wand. I think it was incredibly brave of Jennet to hear out the man and to consent to send Lizzy away. It's so bittersweet though, because although she knows Lizzy will get a good education and be cared for and safe, she will never see her again, and Lizzy is basically all Jennet has at this point. It says a lot about Jennet that she did this for her daughter, knowing it's what's best for her, even if it breaks her own heart.
The letter though. Aw :( Also very bittersweet. She can't read it, and it's all she has left of Lizzy, but she has something that reminds her of Lizzy, she has something to hold on to that keeps Lizzy close, and that's so important, especially as she ends up in the cell with nothing else. I appreciated the dramatic irony of the story and how she ended up coming full circle being accused by a child who was also told what to say - like from a literary standpoint. From a feels standpoint I didn't, but that's ok :P My heart is already in so many pieces.
The night is dark, but the full moon hangs low in the sky, a silver coin against black velvet. -- Gorgeous.
And Jennet's last thoughts are of Lizzy. I like that she can at least be content believing that her daughter is happy. This whole story is so incredibly bittersweet in a lot of places and I think that's why I love it so much. I'm favoriting this so I can come back to it because it is just that good.
Lastly, I love that you wrote this for Jenna, btw. I bet she loved it! It's funny because partway through I was actually thinking it reminded me a lot of her writing, and so it's neat to see it was for her. Anyway. You are amazing and so is this story and ♥♥♥♥.
Kristin! Ah, it's always so lovely to see your name pop up when I get a review! <3
This story was definitely partially inspired by Jenna's writing - especially the way I wanted to incorporate history and tales into it - and the style was quite inspired by Hilary Mantel, because I'd just finished reading Wolf Hall before I wrote this. I don't know if you've read it, but her descriptions are gorgeous, and her style is so compelling. I tried to weave a little bit of that into this story and I'm so flattered that you loved the writing here.
I remember first learning about the Pendle witch trials, and I think Jennet is largely painted as quite an evil character in the retellings of the tale; I honestly don't believe that there's anyway a girl who was no more than ten at the time could have possibly known what she was doing when she gave evidence against her family in that way. The consequences were so huge and far-reaching and no child can imagine the impact they might have. Of course, we don't actually know what Jennet did in the period after the trials, but this story seemed to come full circle as I wrote it, in a strangely poetic way?
I think the scenes with Lizzy were my favourite to write in this piece - and tearing her away from Jennet was a horrible thing to do, but it felt right. The fact that her daughter was blessed with the same gift that was the rumour sealing her family's fate is almost cruel, but I like to think that there's a measure of happiness for Lizzy in the future, even though her mother suffered. Jennet wanted to believe that her daughter was happy and had a better life, and it's nice to believe the same, don't you think?
Thank you so much for this beautiful review <3
You fused history and the wizarding world flawlessly in this. I'm so beyond impressed at how history saturates this story, giving it an accurately realistic feel even though it includes magical elements.
This fic actually taught me a few things about English witch trials. I'm from America, and so we learned about the Salem Witch Trials instead of ones in England. (If you don't know too much about the Salem Witch Trials, it's so disturbing. The horrific ways some people were pressed to death with stones... /shudder) It's honestly really frightening to know that witchhunts began so long ago, yet still go on today, in a more abstract form.
I had no idea that Jennet Device was a real person, and so that just makes all of this more tragic. You did a wonderful job taking a real character and giving her a beautifully written voice. I don't just mean the (really impressive and consistent) accent you write her with, but also her internal monologues and the progression of her thoughts as she ages.
Her fear when Lizzy was taken away to Hogwarts was so understandable and also saddening. She was manipulated as a child, which got her family sentenced to death, and that left her traumatized. When Master Prewett said "witchcraft," I winced because I knew that Jennet would immediately remember everything horrible associated with that word. (I was ready to shake Master Prewett and say, "You wizards live in this time period and somehow still manage to conveniently forget/not know about the fact that 'witches' are dying?")
I really, really adored Lizzy. I'm guessing her red hair was supposed to enhance her witchiness, but mostly her physical description reminded me of Lily Evans, who I love.
The ending was so heartbreaking. Jennet never was able to read Lizzy's words to her. The whole time, I was hoping that somehow Lizzy would have received word of her mother's condition, but that was too wishful of me. I think you wrote the ending beautifully. Your language in this piece is absolutely stunning.
(Bookmarking this for future rereads. <3)
Hi Eva <3 Gosh, this review!
This period of history has always fascinated me, and when I got the chance to write a story like this I was so excited (and worried about whether I'd manage to do it justice). We didn't really learn much about this period in school, although at university (a few years after I wrote this story), I did get the chance to study European witch trials. My knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials comes mostly from The Crucible and a couple of other bits I've read, but I know exactly what you mean - it's fascinating and horrible to be able to track them through history.
I'm so pleased you liked the way that I fused history and the wizarding world in this story, and my inclusion of Jennet Device as well. There's so little known about her, really - not entirely surprising, given the scarcity of records from that period, particularly when it involved ordinary people. It was so interesting to write her character and bring her story into the wizarding world, with the way that Lizzy goes away to Hogwarts (with everything almost coming full circle) and the way she dealt with each of the challenges she faced. I obviously don't know whether or not this depiction does any justice to the real person behind the story, but I really loved writing this piece, and I'm so glad you liked it, too.
Thank you so much for this lovely review <3