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The Manningtree Witches  By  cover art

The Manningtree Witches

By: A. K. Blakemore
Narrated by: Sofia Zervudachi
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Publisher's Summary

England, 1643. Parliament is battling the King; the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers rages. Puritanical fervour has gripped the nation, and the hot terror of damnation burns black in every shadow.

In Manningtree, depleted of men since the wars began, the women are left to their own devices. At the margins of this diminished community are those who are barely tolerated by the affluent villagers - the old, the poor, the unmarried, the sharp-tongued. Rebecca West, daughter of the formidable Beldam West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only by her infatuation with the clerk John Edes. But then newcomer Matthew Hopkins, a mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, takes over The Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about the women of the margins. When a child falls ill with a fever and starts to rave about covens and pacts, the questions take on a bladed edge.

The Manningtree Witches plunges its readers into the fever and menace of the English witch trials, where suspicion, mistrust and betrayal ran amok as the power of men went unchecked and the integrity of women went undefended. It is a visceral, thrilling book that announces a bold new talent.

©2021 A. K. Blakemore (P)2021 A. K. Blakemore

What listeners say about The Manningtree Witches

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  • Charlotte G
  • 06-21-21

accents were off-putting

being from Essex I found the accents distracting and over the top. Essex residents in this era (particularly ones living in North Essex) would have a Norfolk type accent, far more country than the excessively cockney shrill that was occurring on this audiobook. That combined with the author's equally excessive verbosity made it sound like I was being read to by Russell Brand! The voice she chose to do for Matthew Hopkins was absurd as well. I limped through this book that felt far longer than it is and only because it was chosen for my book club.

9 people found this helpful

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  • jonnysly
  • 05-03-21

Brilliant story and excellent narration

Loved it, perfect in every way. Brilliant story and excellent narration. so much talent on display. living in the area it created an even more atmospheric picture of the dread of the times.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jay Wilson
  • 03-20-21

Loved it

Beautiful language, performed wonderfully. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and would recommend this book strongly.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Pink mummy
  • 09-04-21

Worth a read for a different perspective

As a local I was interested to hear another perspective on the story of Matthew Hopkins and the women of Manningtree who were accused of witchcraft. That part of the book didn’t disappoint and it was interesting to hear another view point although fictional of these women. However, there were times when I nearly gave up on the book, firstly because of the narrators “Essex” accent, which sounded more like London or Cockney than Essex/Suffolk rural border, and at points grated on me. I’d rather it had just been read straight to be honest!
As mentioned by other readers, the author seems to have swallowed a thesaurus and added very complex words to describe things just for the sake of it. And some of the geography is a bit out - it’s a LONG way to Felixstowe from Manningtree, for example so it’s unlikely the characters would have seen the town across the estuary.
It’s worth a read but I think I would have preferred this one in paper form so that I didn’t have to listen to the accent which for me was the most grating part.

4 people found this helpful

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  • FreebieBean
  • 03-10-22

An Historical, Human Story, Well Told.

I was nearly put off this book, by the comments of a couple of reviewers in the 'most helpful' section. They didn't like the accent that the book was read in.
I chose to ignore their opinions and I'm glad I did, I loved the accent that the narrator used. O.K. it's Estuary Essex, rather than Manningtree, 17th century English, but Call the Cops, who cares?
I thought That Sofia Zervudachi was portraying a class and position by her use of accent, rather than rigidly treating us to a History degree in colloquial accents in North Essex, in the 1600's. Nuff said (in an Essex accent)
That explanation over, this story is gripping, thrilling and at times unbearable. What makes it even more appalling is that, as we all know, it's based on fact.
The poor women that lived through this terrible time, under this wicked, social-climbing monster of a man, we can only feel sorry for and the hysteria of neighbour and friend pointing the finger, to save their own skin, we have witnessed time and again throughout history. It doesn't make you feel warm towards your fellow man, but it's a really good read and well worth your audible credit.

3 people found this helpful

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  • avocado thrower
  • 01-06-22

Not a Manningtree accent

Why is the narration in such an appalling accent? Manningtree is in North Essex, nearly Suffolk. Yet the narrator employs a terrible estuary style accent. Very off putting. I guess none of us know for certain how people spoke in 1643 but a guide would be the accents of North Essex folk in the early 1900s — not at all London like

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lou
  • 05-25-21

Slow burner, endured more than enjoyed

this is optional here is your 15 word word word word word word word words

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-13-22

Brilliant read thank you

These poor women were not witches but condemned to be so by others who were ignorant of the real facts. I felt the narrator made this book very much worth the read. Very much impressed with Rebecca West character. Most enjoyable and revealing read.

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  • Becks
  • 04-26-22

Best book I’ve ‘read’ in a long time!

I absolutely loved this book and I loved the narration. I read that others didn’t like the accent, but as someone also from Essex, I thought it was fine. Her way of reading was really expressive and clear - something I’ve struggled to find with other books. The story was beautifully written, so poetic & descriptive. Can’t wait for more novels from AK Blakemore!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Miss H S Connolly
  • 04-06-22

Such a worthy treatment of this terrible time in history

I love the way she writes… her descriptive skills are amazing. She even manages to inject humour up to a point ..
I really got embroiled in this book and was sorry when it ended.
I hope she decides to write another

1 person found this helpful