Beth Underdown lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. Her first novel, The Witchfinder's Sister, is based on the life of the 1640s witchfinder Matthew Hopkins. Beth's interest in seventeenth-century England was sparked by the work of her great-uncle David Underdown, one of that period's foremost historians. She came across a brief mention of Matthew Hopkins while reading a book about midwifery, igniting an interest which turned into an all-consuming hunt for the elusive truth about this infamous killer.
Guardian: "A clever debut, with a slow burn of horror, sees the 17th-century witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins confronted by his fictional sister" Don't miss the world premiere of Beth Underdown's The Witchfinder's Sister! Playing at Queen's Theatre Hornchurch until 30 October 2021.
'A gifted storyteller' Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent THE PAGE-TURNING NEW NOVEL FROM THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE WITCHFINDER'S SISTER _______ I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unfurling out of an upper window and a hectic orange light cascading across the terrace... By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy - one whose death decades ago haunts her still. For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free. But once you open a door to the past, can you ever truly close it again? The Key in the Lock is a captivating story of slow-burning secrets and shame, and of the loyalty and love that rises from the ashes. 'Brilliantly twisty, dripping with mystery and utterly heartbreaking' Emily Koch 'A Cornish landscape evocative of Daphne du Maurier . . . brilliantly plotted' Louise Hare 'Absorbing, beautifully written... Everything I enjoy in a gothic mystery' Rosie Andrews 'Captivating and elegant and undoubtedly a future classic' Lucie McKnight Hardy _______ PRAISE FOR BETH UNDERDOWN 'A clever, pacey read' The Times 'Vivid and terrifying' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train 'A clever novel' Guardian 'Beth Underdown grips us from the outset and won't let go' Patrick Gale, author of Notes From An Exhibition 'A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel' Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat 'Thumpingly good' Lucy Mangan, author of Bookworm 'Beth Underdown cleverly creates a compelling atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia' Kate Riordan, author of The Girl in the Photograph 'A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel' Ian McGuire, author of The North Water
';This is a novel for our times. . . . The Witchfinder's Sister [lays] bare the visceral horror of what a witch hunt truly is.'The New York Times Book Review(Editors' Choice) ';Vivid and terrifying.'Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the TrainandInto the Water';Connects nicely with such dystopian classics as 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale.'Booklist Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealthbut more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew's soul. There is a new darkness in the town, toofrightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice's blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he's become, Alice is desperate to interveneand deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew's reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul. Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother's brutal missionand is drawn into the Hopkins family's past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evilsbefore more innocent women are forced to the gallows. Inspired by the real-life story of notorious ';Witchfinder General' Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown's thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with echoes of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Talefor a truly haunting reading experience.Praise for The Witchfinder's Sister';Entertaining and thought-provokingwith a valuable message for our own times.'The Washington Post ';Highly recommended.'Library Journal (starred review)
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Witchfinders Sister by Beth Underdown, read by Lucy Brownhill and Roy McMillan. VIVID AND TERRIFYING Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six... 1645. When Alice Hopkins husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering womens names. To what lengths will Matthews obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan? A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat Anyone who liked Cecilia Ekbacks Wolf Winter is going to love this Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street Beth Underdown grips us from the outset and wont let go...at once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller Patrick Gale, author of Notes from an Exhibition A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel Ian McGuire, author of The North Water Beth Underdown cleverly creates a compelling atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia... Even from the distance of nearly four hundred years, her Matthew Hopkins is a genuinely frightening monster Kate Riordan