The Daylight Gate, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Good Friday 1612. Pendle Hill. A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by a local magistrate.

Is it a witches' Sabbat?In Lancaster Castle two notorious witches await trial and certain death, while the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter rides to their defence. Elsewhere a starved child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter makes his way from France to a place he believes will offer him sanctuary. But will it? And how safe can anyone be in Witch Country?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9780099561835

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Review by

This is a work of historical fiction based on the Pendle witch trials in Lancashire in the 17th century.I'd previously read Winterson's [Oranges are Not the Only Fruit] and loved it, so I found [The Daylight Gate] a bit of a letdown. For quite a slim novel, there's an <i>awful</i> lot packed in here - John Dee, Edward Kelly, and Shakespeare all make appearances, as well as a host of other characters (good witches, bad witches, devils, prosecutors, ghosts, Protestants, and a Jesuit on the lam), plus no fewer than three love affairs and lashings of gore. The length of the book and Winterson's spare prose style are not really well-suited to such a busy cast and melodramatic plot. The depiction of the grim poverty of peasant life also makes an extremely odd juxtaposition with the fantastical scenes of magic involving the main character of the book, the lady Alice Nutter.This could have been a better book if more time and attention had been spent on one or two aspects of the plot as it's written, such as the uneasy relationship between Alice Nutter and the local magistrate, Robert Nowell. As it stands, it's not a very good book and nearly as good as [A Mirror for Witches], my favourite novel along similar lines (historical fiction about the witch trials, but with a fantastical element of real diabolic magic added).

Review by
Is that him? The Jesuit?Yes.Shall we take him?Follow him.where will he go?to Lancashire, where his home is. To Pendle Forest, where his heart is.In Lancashire in 1612, the authorities were on the hunt for Catholic traitors as well as for witches, and in Jeanette Winterson's version of the story, magic is real and the Pendle witches include former colleagues of Doctor John Dee as well as the poverty-stricken and deluded.This novella was published by Hammer, and I found the scenes of rape and torture genuinely horrific.