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Summary

Good Friday, 1612. Pendle Hill, Lancashire. A mysterious gathering of 13 people is interrupted by local magistrate Roger Nowell. Is this a witches' Sabbat? Two notorious Lancashire witches are already in Lancaster Castle awaiting trial. Why is the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter defending them? And why is she among the group of 13 on Pendle Hill? Elsewhere, a starved, abused child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter, recently returned from France, is widely rumoured to be heading for Lancashire. But who will offer him sanctuary? And how quickly can he be caught? This is the reign of James I, a Protestant King with an obsession: to rid his realm of twin evils, witchcraft and Catholicism, at any price.

©2012 Jeanette Winterson (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

Critic reviews

“If you like her other novels, you will adore this. She has done her homework... the beauty of the writing, exemplary in its pared-down simplicity. It’s so seductive that by the middle I was hooked.” (Independent)
“Beautifully written passages.” (Independent on Sunday)
“A gripping and grisly gothic tale of witchery...That the story is predetermined does little to dry up the narrative suspense. Winterson’s version has all the grisly freshness of a newly exhumed grave-yard corpse...The narrative voice is irrefutable; this is old-fashioned story-telling, with a sermonic tone that commands and terrifies. Absolutism is Winterson’s forte, and it’s the perfect mode to verify supernatural events when they occur.” (Guardian)
“This I ought to say, is a book worth reading – utterly compulsive, thick with atmosphere and dread, but sharp intelligence too...Ultimately she combines compelling history and poetic dialogue with suspense...This rather more sophisticated story would make a particularly vivid film.” (Telegraph)
“The Daylight Gate contains all the energy and fearlessness that is Winterson’s trademark and its raw, unpolished nature fits the true-life events she describes...” (Sunday Express)
"Shocking, grizzly, heartbreaking and very compelling." (Diva)
"The Daylight Gate is full of canny invention with a feminist slant, gruesome wit and legitimately scary moments" (Rue Morgue)
"spine-chilling" (Kate Saunders, Saturday Review, The Times)
"a fast-paced, lurid tale." (TLS)
"Beguiling storyteller Jeanette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, creates a darkly compelling novel…. Winterson weaves history with fiction in this atmospheric and totally captivating novel. Cancel your plans, you won’t want to put this down" (5 stars, Pick of the Paperbacks, Daily Express)
"As well as being a gripping gothic read, the book provides historical social commentary on the phenomenon of witchcraft and its persecution." (Saturday Review, Guardian)
"this novella of the Pendle witches is a perfect fit for Winterson" (Independent Radar)
"Jeanette Winterson has embraced horror in this devastating short novel about the Pendle witch trials… Winterson’s fans and horror aficionados alike will enjoy this humane and at times shocking story, an unflinching portrait of the suffering and indignity meted out to a family whose poverty and disregard for authority make them easy targets…. The Daylight Gate is an unremitting, elegantly crafted tale written in a spare prose style that will haunt you – at least until you pick up and read it again." (The Riverside Way)
"Provocative and political, and genuinely horrific." (Richard Strachan)
"The narrative barrels along enjoyably, mixing earthy historical detail with colourful supernatural scenes" (Independent)

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Very disappointing

I am so sad to say that this was a bit of a disappointment. I love Jeanette Winterson and after reading a few articles about this book, eagerly anticipated the Audible release. I had also previously listened to 'Why be happy when you could be normal?' (audiobook of the year without a doubt) so had high hopes for this. Winterson has researched and written this beautifully and I think the problem may be in the audio version. I found myself confusing the characters a little which obviously hindered full immersion into the story. The narration

was bearable but really lacked any sense of atmosphere, suspense or period feel. Maybe one that's better to read?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

wonderful narration

I had to 'read' this because the book group chose it. I found the story rather too gory for my taste, and the plot a little unsatisfying, if difficult to 'switch off'. But the narration was superb. I also had the book itself from the library but enjoyed much more listening to it read in Sian Thomas's voice.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice to hear alternative voices

It is so nice to hear a story written about the lives and experiences of essentially ordinary women from history; although it is tough to hear as violence and abuse against women is still ongoing and reinforces how far we have come and yet in some ways how little has changed. The narration was good and the story engaging and refreshing in the sense that it was not another story of powerful and privileged individuals. The length is just right with the ending offering some optimism through resistance. I will definitely be listening to more for this author.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jo
  • United Kingdom
  • 24-08-12

Winterson does it again

This is wonderful. Darkly insightful. The narrator does it full justice. The whole flow of the book is something one would always expect of Jeanette. Although I was hesitant that this genre was something perhaps a little different, she always manages to pull it off. This is a fantastic read...A little bit looming in places so be careful listening to it as you're going to sleep!