Catherine Cavendish is back with another compelling, atmospheric, and often terrifying ghost story with The Malan Witch set for release on August 18, 2020.
Set in the an area of Britain reminiscent of Cornwall, the story opens as recently widowed Robyn Crowe travels to a quaint seaside cottage to recuperate and perhaps even find herself again after the loss of her husband to cancer. Of course, there is much more going on inside this cottage than are visible upon first inspection.
Birds act strangely around the home. Strange sounds and shadows invade her dreams, and she soon hears tales of a pair of sisters burned as witches centuries before who once lived where the cottage now stands.
Honestly, if there’s a more perfect set-up for a captivating British ghost story steeped in folklore in recent years, I’ve not read it. In fact, for me, The Malan Witch felt like that rare occasion when you feel like an author has written a story with you, specifically, in mind.
Cavendish casts a spell over the reader from the first moments, coaxing us inch by inch into her trap. Along the way, she teases us with British witch lore involving hag stones and iron horseshoes and the strange but true tradition of sealing a mummified cat in the walls of your home to protect you from harm.
What is most surprising about the novel, however, is how purely unrelenting the terror can be within its pages. As Robyn seeks answers, nature itself turns against her and the spirit of the long-dead witch does not stoop to petty haunting tropes. She is evil, and she’s out to prove it by any means necessary.
Cavendish is a captivating and capable storyteller and my only real regret upon finishing the novella was how short it was. In retrospect, however, the length is even more appealing. Like any good ghost story, The Malan Witch, draws you in, makes you slightly paranoid about the shadows in your reading room, scares the daylights out of you, then ends with everything or nothing resolved.
I won’t tell you about the novella’s ending. You’ll just have to take the journey yourself.
The point is, this novella could have been a 300+ page novel with multiple sub-plots, drawn out descriptions, and villainous amounts of misdirection. Cavendish chose, rightly, to keep the story simple, straightforward, and chilling, and The Malan Witch is better for it.
You can order a copy of The Malan Witch by CLICKING HERE.