Newcastle Witch Trials Trilogy: Book 2
Return to a world of folklore and superstition in Helen Steadman’s Sunwise.
The witchfinder John Sharpe renews his quest to rid the world of evil in the second book of The Widdershins Trilogy.
Alone in a hostile world, Jane Chandler is forced to continue her dangerous work as a healer while struggling to keep her young daughter safe.
When her former lover Tom Verger returns from the navy, the two are determined to find a way to be together, but the witchfinder has other plans.
Filled with vengeance, John Sharpe will stop at nothing in his sworn mission to free the world from the scourge of witchcraft.
Sunwise is a suspenseful tale of survival, love and courage, which begins where Widdershins ends.
The Newcastle Witch Trials Trilogy was inspired by the little-known 1650 witch hunt that resulted in one of the largest mass executions of witches on a single day in England.

© Helen Steadman 2019

A young woman and her child face the witchfinder.A young woman and her child face the witchfinder.

Review by the Historical Novel Society

When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy, he finds Jane unhappily married to his rival. Helped by an old priest, they plan to flee to America, but a Jane’s life as a mother and village healer must continue as normal. Then news comes that John Sharpe (the self-appointed witch-finder who hanged Jane’s mother) is searching for Jane, determined to destroy her, her daughter and her unborn child.

The novel is rich in fascinating details: Jane’s remedies and the village customs, partly Christian, partly pagan. Ancient names for plants and festivities, both seasonal and Christian, add colour to the narrative. Jane’s story is based on true events, and Jane represents the many women whose healing gifts made them victims of superstition and violence. In John, Steadman makes a convincing if not original case that his overzealous persecution of supposed witches stems from his fear and shame at his own lust and contempt for women.

Lynn Guest