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Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers' Favorite
The Secret Witch by Jeff Severcool is a dark, Gothic tale about attaining freedom, even as you pass through the fires of hatred. Verity is a young woman who lives in Salem during the witch hunts. She and her adopted sister, Hope, decide to get some berries for her in the woods, when they stumble across a dead deer, drained of blood. As the witch hunts continue, and Verity loses both of her sisters to the hellish embers of life and death, she herself must face the evil festering within Salem. It all comes crashing down when she is targeted. Severcool weaves a demented story about a girl’s quest for freedom, as she walks the thin line between salvation and damnation.
While I didn’t necessarily love Verity, I did understand where she was coming from. Puritans are incredibly strict, and when they came to this country, they sought freedom for themselves, but not for others. Nevertheless, she does attain what she desired most; the freedom to choose, the freedom to live, and the freedom to kill. And Salem was, of course, the site of the infamous witch hunts. Paranoia shrouded the town in fear and scandal, something that Verity pointed out. If you were different from any of them, you risked being murdered. That was exactly what happened to Verity. Though justice was served by the death of the Elder, she herself was brought to trial for his murder. From the sham marriage between Verity and her husband, Josiah, to the dark dealings of Minister Barrowe, it appears that human corruption is more monstrous than the vampires themselves. Severcool shows this stark contrast in that though vampires were traditional monsters, humans were the ones to destroy. As such, I would recommend this book to fans who love The Killing Cure by C.S. Kendall and Pnaramakhia by Flavio Santonocito.