Tuesday, October 31, 2023

We Are All Witches - Mairi Kidd

A Halloween (and beyond) themed read for today's mini-review. I'm still not convinced by the formatting of this book - it's a plus-sized hardback with full-page illustrations that are okay in themselves but feel unnecessary and interpretive bits that also get in the way in my view of otherwise excellent short stories. I don't think it really belongs in the history section either - but now I'm done with all those quibbles I'll say again Mairi Kidd is a brilliant storyteller.

There are 13 stories here based on the lives of Scottish women thought to be witches. They're treated with dignity and compassion and there's a decent amount of context for the real women as well as these imagined versions. I think there are probably better books on the history of witchcraft if that's your primary interest, but not better books for breathing life into these legends. 

There's quite a lot being written about the persecution of suspected Scottish witches at the moment - it's a rich subject, and 'We Are All Witches' is an excellent place to start if you want a good grounding and a good yarn. there's a brief bibliography of where to find more of these witches in fiction. I'd happily give this to anyone looking for a list of 'Bad Women To Live Your Life By', anyone looking for really accessible history, and anyone who enjoys good storytelling and folklore. I think the format might put off some potential readers - I wouldn't have picked it up if I hadn't been sent a review copy, but don't judge by the cover! 

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