The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman is the first novel I read on my holiday in Brighton. I got my copy at the Boekenfestijn more than a year ago (My TBR pile is HUGE). This novel has 310 pages.
“Germany, 1507. In a time when famine is rife and panic spreading, people resort to desperate measures in order to survive.
When a visiting friar suggests that witchcraft is to blame for their failing crops, Irmeltrud sees an opportunity to get rid of her burdensome mother-in-law, Güde. Frustrated with having to feed the old woman who brings nothing to the table, she is quick to point the dreaded finger of suspicion, Güde has three days to clear her name, or be led to the stake …”
This says it all really.
I love Mailman for writing about an old woman who’s accused of witchcraft. Most other novels are about younger women, though this is, historically speaking, incorrect as most accused women were older and lonely. By choosing to do so, Mailman made this story much closer to reality.
Mailman is able to show us how gossip and hatred can have very grave consequences, especially in small communities where people depend on each other. We see how a simple rumor or grievance can escalate and destroy the whole community.
The descriptions of the famine are haunting; I could almost feel the hunger in my stomach. The writer paints us dark and hard pictures. It’s intense and gripping
I liked it that we were able to really understand Güde. She was a well rounded character, she had her flaws but also her merits.
Though I did miss being able to understand the antagonists a bit more. They were just bad people and except for Irmeltrud we didn’t’ really understand their motives or how it’s possible that it all spread like a wildfire. We all know a story like this could have been true and that made me want to understand the whole situation.
Güde doesn’t know whether all that’s happening is part of her ailing mind and age or whether it’s really happening and she really is a witch, voluntarily or not. And this bothered me at times. I could do without those dreams or hallucinations, it slowed the story down.