The daylight gate
A terrible and magical tale about a heroine who is accused of treason because she tries to do the right thing. Jeanette Winterson once again shows her skill in reimagining historical events. This time in witch country.
This is a horrific tale, but told in a language one step removed from the horror. But without these matter-of-fact descriptions by Jeanette Winterson of the excruciating things that befall these characters, the story itself would be hidden behind a veil of torture, rape and murder.
A page from the history books
Based on the documentation of England's most infamous witch-trials, the book is teeming with well-known names from history. Our heroine, Alice Nutter, is a self-made and independent woman, old friends with William Shakespeare and John Dee. She has been alive for many years but she doesn't look old. She is a falconer, a chemist and prefers to ride astride, not side-saddle. Alice is caught in the authorities' net when she tries to have her tenants released from imprisonment when they are accused of "treason" by witchery against king James.
Magic in the 17th Century
In this world there is magic and that is a fact. There is transmogrification, talking animals and the titular phenomenon The daylight gate. I found it very rewarding to read the novel as if it told the true story of what happened in Lancashire in those early years of the 17th Century. And because Jeanette Winterson is such a skilled stylist, I don't think there's Even a true sceptic needs to once in a while let her mind roam free for a couple of hours. It seems to me that Jeanette Winterson can do no literary wrong.