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Book Review: Red Runs the Witch's Thread by Victoria Williamson

An eerie tale of lies, deception and the supernatural

By Marie SinadjanPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

Paisley, Scotland, 1697. Thirty-five people accused of witchcraft. Seven condemned to death. Six strangled and burned at the stake. All accused by eleven-year-old Christian Shaw.

Bargarran House, 1722. Christian Shaw returns home, spending every waking hour perfecting the thread bleaching process that will revive her family’s fortune. If only she can make it white enough, perhaps her past sins will be purified too.

But dark forces are at work. As the twenty-fifth anniversary of the witch burnings approaches, ravens circle Bargarran House, their wild cries stirring memories and triggering visions.

As Christian’s mind begins to unravel, her states of delusion threaten the safety of all those who cross her path. In the end she must make a terrible choice: her mind or her soul? Poverty and madness, or a devil’s bargain for the bleaching process that will make her the most successful businesswoman Paisley has ever seen?

Her fate hangs by a thread. Which will she choose?

GENRE: Historical Fiction / Horror

PURCHASE LINK: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victoria Williamson is an award-winning author who grew up in Scotland surrounded by hills, books, and an historical farm estate which inspired many of her early adventure stories and spooky tales. After studying Physics at the University of Glasgow, she set out on her own real-life adventures, which included teaching maths and science in Cameroon, training teachers in Malawi, teaching English in China and working with children with additional support needs in the UK. Victoria currently works part time writing KS2 books for the education company Twinkl and spends the rest of her time writing novels, and visiting schools, libraries and literary festivals to give author talks and run creative writing workshops.

Victoria’s previous novels include The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, The Boy with the Butterfly Mind, Hag Storm, and War of the Wind. She has won the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award 2020/2021, The YA-aldi Glasgow Secondary School Libraries Book Award 2023, and has been shortlisted for the Week Junior Book Awards 2023, The Leeds Book Awards 2023, the Red Book Award 2023, the James Reckitt Hull Book Awards 2021, The Trinity School Book Awards 2021, and longlisted for the ABA South Coast Book Awards 2023, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020, and the Branford Boase Award 2019.

Her latest novel, The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams, is a middle grade fantasy inspired by classic folklore. Twenty percent of the author royalties for this book are donated to CharChar Literacy, an organisation working to improve children’s literacy levels in Malawi.

You can find out more about Victoria’s books, school visits and free resources for schools on her website: www.strangelymagical.com

Review

I'm beginning to see some kind of pattern with Victoria's historical fiction horror stories, and I'm not complaining! Aside from the shorter length and similar genre, much like The Haunting Scent of Poppies (also published by Silver Thistle Press) I received the most delightful book package.

Red Runs the Witch's Thread has an unusual protagonist — in that Christian is quite hard to like. I have some understanding of where her twisted beliefs came from, though; I remember being terrified of my period as a preteen because of the strange stories I'd heard, as well as the general lack of sex education and the indoctrination that "sex is bad" due to a conservative/religious upbringing. (Of course, the story's so much more than that, but I won't spoil it!)

I don't know about the other readers, but I found her downward spiral terrifying and fascinating to witness, which was probably the part I enjoyed the most about this book. The lengths some people would go for some things... I can't really say more without spoiling it, so I'll just leave it at that and let you decide.

As someone who isn't Scottish, I was surprised to get to the notes at the end that said that this book is, in fact, based on a true story.

I enjoy Victoria's middle grade books, but I'm really starting to enjoy this brand of historical folk horror she's started. I'm definitely looking forward to more.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️️⭐️️

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Hi! I'm Marie, a Filipino SFFH author and book reviewer currently based in the UK. I’m the co-author of The Prophecies of Ragnarok, a Norse myth new adult urban fantasy trilogy, and I also have several short stories published in anthologies and literary journals.

You can find more info about me and my books, and also subscribe to my newsletter for more content, here. And if you like what I do, please also consider supporting me on Ko-fi! 🩷 https://ko-fi.com/mariesinadjan

If you fancy a short read this #IndieApril, I have a cozy reimagining of the Norse myths about Hel, but it's just under 70 pages and can be read in one sitting. ✨ Plus there's a swag kit coming soon! Includes a "membership card," a bookmark, a sticker, an origami dog, and an exclusive 500-word story 🫶🏼

ReviewRecommendationGenreFiction

About the Creator

Marie Sinadjan

Filipino spec fic author and book reviewer based in the UK. https://linktr.ee/mariesinadjan • www.mariesinadjan.com

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