Reading Reviews for Witch
5 Reviews Found

Review #1, by SunshineDaisies Witch

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Hufflepuff

Oooh! I love reading about English history, so this was an absolute gem. I love how you've incorporated what we know of history with the world JKR created for us. It's definitely an interesting comparison. I also really love that this is based in fact! Taking a real person's story and blending it with fiction is such an interesting way to write, and makes for a very lovely story. I think this is especially true given the fact that Jennet, while a real person, is almost lost to history. She's not anyone famous, so most people don't know her story. The way you've brought her back to life is just wonderful. You've created a very real, emotionally compelling story here. I think quite often in historical fiction, emotions are sort of left out of the picture. People died all the time, so it didn't seem as big of a deal as it is now. Of course, whenever you lose someone, it's a big deal. Especially if you blame yourself for it. I think the way you explored and developed Jennet, in the correct historical context, is absolutely outstanding.

Fantastic job!

Author's Response: Hello!

I love history too, and I love historical fiction and incorporating elements of the HP world into this, so I'm really excited whenever I find someone else who's interested by all of this too! The Pendle Witch Trials are actually the biggest in English history, but not that many people nowadays know about them - perhaps if they're from the area, it's better known, but otherwise there are a lot of people who will never have heard Jennet Device's real name. I really liked getting the chance to tell her story in a way that incorporated the character into the Harry Potter world; even if this clearly isn't factually accurate, I do like the idea that I've been able to bring her to life a little bit and give her a voice of sorts in this story, and I'm so, so pleased that you found it interesting and compelling!

I can't really say much more in response to this wonderful review, except thank you so, so much - I put a lot into this story and I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! Thank you!

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Review #2, by MargaretLane Witch

19th November 2014:
I'm not sure I should start reading something THIS long this late, but I'm going to. *laughs* It sounds awesome.

Love the detail about her "not having her letters".

That's sort of creepy, the way he is teaching her what to say.

I also love the way this is sort of divided into subsections, with a bolded word at top. It looks really well.

The description of Lancaster is creepy too.

And I'm now thinking of what was happening in Ireland at the time. The Celtic era has just finished and Ulster is being planted. So James is king, right? That helps me date things.

I love your little details. I already mentioned her not having her letters, but also the gaps where her teeth should be and being dragged down from the back of the cart.

And OH, she's trying to save them. I read your author's note first - perhaps I shouldn't have but I wanted to know the background, so I know this is unlikely to work well.

I love the way you portray her confusion and the way she is out of place, both as a child in an adult's world and an uneducated person in a court situation. It's clear she has little idea of what it is that's taking place around her.

Shouldn't Mass have a capital letter?

And of course, it's the time of the Reformation too, which ties in with the Plantations I mentioned earlier - the Earls have left for Catholic Spain or Rome.

Yikes, ten people killed - that's probably more than were executed as witches in the history of my country.

The counting is creepy and actually this story reminds me a little of the one about Nearly Headless Nick. Not just the fact both are about executions, but also the tone.

The poor child. The "wandering" section is so sad and really makes me feel sorry for her.

And you have me wondering what happened to her in the meantime - how she managed to survive and to get by.

I love the way she is grateful to have her little girl, despite everything and the way she still feels guilty for what she was manipulated into doing as a child. I mean, of COURSE she would, but poor, poor girl. She did it for the best.

Another little detail I like is the one about how she doesn't know exactly when her daughter's birthday is. You create the time SO realistically with these details. They're the sort of things that are SO easy to overlook.

And I like the way the man reappears when her daughter is much the same age as she was when she first met him.

Hmm, this stuff about his connection with Hogwarts is strange. Considering that he seemed to be opposed to witchcraft earlier. I wonder what is going on here.

And I did wonder how you were going to tie this up with Harry Potter. It'll be interesting to see where it goes.

Love the comparison with the lost city of Atlantis.

And of course, we only saw his appearance the first time from her point of view. Perhaps he didn't intend to cause the deaths of her family.

And that is sad, the way the children can not go home for fear of raising suspicion. The part about how she feels her heart is crumbling from the loss of her daughter nearly brought tears to my eyes.

And I love the description of things coming full circle.

Ugh, the description of how she is transported to jail is creepy. There's something dehumanising about it. And the part about the jailers carrying out the bodies sent shivers down my spine. How did people live through that?

The part where she imagines her daughter's life and tries to convince herself her daughter is the brightest girl in the school, loved by all her teachers and will succeed because of the very thing that blighted the life of her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, uncle and aunt is so sweet.

LOVE the comparison between words and gunpowder. I'm reminded of an Irish ballad, "The Bould Fenian Men," which refers to their voice being their "canon".

And the poor, poor woman, feeling her mother still hates her for what she was made to do and would want to see her suffer likewise.

And the injustice that they would still be punished even if it were proven they were innocent and had been treated unfairly. That they would have to pay for injustice done to them - it makes no sense.

And there is irony in her belief that she will be forgotten, when her name can still be researched today.

I was just wishing her daughter could find out what happened to her mother and use her magic to release her, but of course, that could hardly happen, as it wouldn't fit with the reality.

This is such an awesome story. 10 out of 10.

Author's Response: It's taken me a shamefully long time to respond to this review and for that I'm very sorry - it was just so amazing that I didn't really know how to respond! I was excited when I saw that you'd chosen this story, though; I enjoyed writing it so much and knowing how much you enjoy history makes this review even better for me!

The little details were something I really wanted to include to try and help set this in the time period as firmly as possible. This is such an interesting period of history and it was great to write about.

I've never tried dividing a piece into sections like this before, but it seemed to fit for this story and I'm pleased you liked it!

Historically, it's not known whether she was trying to save her family or not - there's a lot of speculation about whether she understood what she was doing at the time she did it, since all we have are the records from the trial. I went with a slightly more sympathetic portrayal of her actions here - she was, after all, only nine years old.

You're right, Mass should be capitalised - I'll fix that now.

These witch trials are probably the most famous in Britain - partly because of Jennet being used as a witness. But there were a lot of people killed because of it, and more in Yorkshire as well. It's really horrible.

Again, with the wandering section, I'm taking liberties; we don't have records of what happened to her between the trial where she was a witness and the later trial she appeared in, but I'm glad you liked the interpretation here.

The man isn't actually the same as the first man who appears here, so I'll look back and see if I can make that clearer. It's just that to Jennet, the rich clothes instil a sense of fear because of her memories and the associations they have.

I was trying to imagine how on earth families would explain their children being taken away to school for the year and then returning at summer, and thinking that things must have been different at that time. People lived in such close proximity to each other, and girls going to school just didn't happen, especially in poor families, so there would be no real explanation for why someone would be able to return for the summer.

The full circle part was really heart-breaking to write. It was hard to imagine how she must have felt when she'd seen the same thing happening to the rest of her family and then had to go through it herself. Her daughter was kind of her saving grace there.

The laws back then were so ridiculous, I can't understand how it could be fair to implement that sort of system - wrongly accused and tried, but they still had to pay to get out of the gaol.

I always think that people like Jennet would truly believe they would be forgotten; for them, the only real tradition of history was oral and she probably wouldn't feel that there would be anyone left to tell her story. I'm glad that we have the documents that mean otherwise!

Thank you so much for this amazing review, it means a lot to me!

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Review #3, by Lululuna Witch

14th October 2014:
Hey Sian!! :D Finally here to review this AMAZING story that you were so lovely in gifting me with. First of all, I know you know me well enough to know that this story is just right up my alley and I loved it so much, between the thoughtful portrayal of historical events and adapting them to the HP world, and the extreme pathos and slightly creepy element to the story and Jennet's experience.

One thing that stood out for me was how sorry I felt for Jennet and how she just had a terrible fate. How she was manipulated as a child and completely misguided, and how that led to a lifetime of guilt and hurt. It's truly heartbreaking, and inspires this real sense of sadness for me that there was nobody to look out for her and to protect or guide her. It's good that Lizzy has the guidance and education that Jennet didn't, but it made me feel really heartbroken for Jennet herself all the same.

The image of the bodies lined up when she was a girl was truly chilling. This line; Ten is the biggest number she can count up to. And there are ten of them, the bodies. Wow, that is just beautifully heartbreaking while also gruesome and terrifying. It shows both how ignorant Jennet is but also how this is the moment that completely changes her understanding of society and her place amongst humanity. :( I wonder if this is the sort of connection, between numbers and bodies, that makes her continue to fear education and the dangers it brings. She almost seems to prefer to live uneducated, because knowledge and speaking brings danger. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but it was really neat.

I really liked the historical details you incorporated, like the characters speech. I'm a big fan of dialect in dialogue to show how those characters differ from the norm and you did a great job with Jennet's language especially here. And then the little details, like the "gaol" and how she sells eggs and they go begging, really made the period believable.

I felt both sad and happy when Lizzy went away to Hogwarts. Happy, because she'll get a better life, and not have to suffer like Jennet or see how her mother suffered. But also sad, because Jennet lost the only thing that gave her love and even has to cope with the idea that Lizzy might be embarrassed or ashamed of her. It was really moving how much she clung to the idea of Lizzy as embodied through the letter, and she was quite selfless in that way. The way she focused her dreams and love on the letter was really beautifully written. In some ways I was longing to know just what the letter said but in other ways it was more powerful that Jennet never really found out, only imagined: it made it more of a dream and that way she could never be disappointed.

Jennet Device is a black stain on the green hills of her home. She knows that her name will be forgotten. The blot on the pages of history will be erased from time. I thought these lines were amazing. The narration takes on an almost accusatory tone, and I felt like the narrator could be read as holding the people responsible for not taking care of Jennet, for not being able to help her. It's an almost Charles Dickens-style message of trying to inspire pathos and societal change which I really loved.

The cyclical nature of the story and the sadness of Jennet's life was really brought to life with your beautiful writing. Thank you so much for this story, Sian - it truly means the world to me, and I know I'll be back to read it again and again and discover something new next time. You are amazing!! ♥ ♥

Author's Response: Jenna! ♥ I genuinely can't tell you how happy this review made me, because I really hoped that you'd like this story even though it's a bit random at first, and I know how busy you are, so the fact that you took the time to review means a lot! And thank YOU for everything too, plus I loved writing this story so it was definitely worth it!

Jennet Device as an historical figure is so ambiguous and so interesting, and I've always found myself really intrigued about her and what her motives were behind betraying her family, which essentially condemned them to death. It's so, so sad that there was nobody there to guide her properly and she made one mistake that had massive repercussions and affected her for the rest of her life.

In Jennet's mind, I think there's definitely a link between education and danger, because the people who are educated that she's encountered have always posed a threat to her, and at the same time there's that connection in her mind like you commented on, the fact that when she can count and if she could read, she'd maybe realise the magnitude of what she'd done even more. Perhaps she prefers to be this way as it means she can't understand to the same extent? I don't know where I'm going with this either, but it's really interesting to think about!

The dialect was so fun to write, as I love using it, although I had to tone a lot of it down as I was sure so many people wouldn't understand it :P I'm really glad you liked all those little historical details!

Lizzy definitely got the chance of a better life when she went to Hogwarts, but for Jennet, who's left behind, it's really sad. She has to be selfless here, because she knows that this honestly is the right thing to do, and that sacrifice kind of shows how much she's grown and changed since she was a scared little girl. I'm glad you liked the letter and the dreams that it evoked for Jennet - I was always sure I wouldn't include the letter, as I think it works better that we, along with Jennet, never know what it says.

I'm so pleased that you liked those lines! Jennet's life is one of those that gets forgotten so easily, or she gets cast as this demon child, so I really wanted to explore that and maybe try and make sure she'd be remembered for something other than what she did as a nine year old girl.

I'm so, so happy that you liked this story, Jenna - it's honestly all I was hoping for, and then this amazing review has just blown me away! ♥

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Review #4, by Gabriella Hunter Witch

24th September 2014:

This is Gabbie from the forums with our swap and I'm here really quickly after seeing this on the forums. I have heard through the nerd grapevine that you're fantastic author but I haven't had the chance to come and look at any of your work so I'm really glad that I've stopped by. Also, nice to meet you and everything, I'm sure you've seen me lurking around. :D

So, I am completely blown away by this. I think that you've merged real history and fiction wonderfully and while I was a bit tense while I was reading, you took me on an emotional rollercoaster and I'm still trying to catch my breath.

I think that you set up this one-shot very well, there was a dark edge to it from the very beginning and I was really stunned by what Jennet did to her family. I feel like this mysterious man of course used her to do what he wanted and to gain a bit of importance but you wrote Jennet so well that I had the utmost empathy fro her. It was obvious that she didn't quite understand what she was doing on some parts but also, there was a sense that she thought she was doing something good for her family.

The life you crafted for her was tragic and sad, I was really torn up when her entire family was wiped away. There was a bit of happiness for her though when she had her daughter and I had a hope that things were about to look up. You show that superstitions and hatred can last lifetimes and while Jennet may be moving forward on some levels, her past is always going to be there. The word witch and what it entails is frightening for her and by the time her daughter is at Hogwarts, I had a feeling that things weren't going to go so well for her.

The irony here couldn't have been written more beautifully though, there's something so terrible about it. Was it divine justice? I can't really say but I felt so badly for Jennet by the time this one-shot was over and while she gets her peace in the end, I wish that she could have gotten the happiness that she needed. :(

All in all though this was brilliantly executed and your concept was very original. I've never read anything like it before. :D

Thanks so much for the swap!

Much love,


Author's Response: Hi Gabbie! Ah, thank you for the swap and this brilliant review!

Aw, you're making me blush before you've even started talking about the story, saying that you've heard things about my writing, so thank you!

This story was one of those that I was wondering about for a while before I actually tried to write it... this period in history is one that really interests me, so it was great to get to merge that with the HP universe, and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it!

Jennet Device has always been such an interesting figure in history because she was just a child but she did betray her family and send them to the gallows... there are so many theories about why she did it, and whether she understood what she was doing or not, but it was really dark to open with, as she had a very tragic start to her life!

The rest of her life didn't go too well either, although apart from the first trial and then being tried herself, not much is known about Jennet in history. I loved getting the chance to fill in the missing gaps with my own version of her story, and that she did get some happiness with her daughter, although her actions as a child do haunt her for the rest of her life, and it's great that you enjoyed all of that.

Wow, thank you, I'm so pleased you thought it was beautifully written! I really wanted to write something evocative with some more unusual description, and it's fantastic that it worked well!

Thank you for this wonderful review, Gabbie!

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Review #5, by AussieLottie Witch

24th September 2014:
It's very sad... But I thoroughly enjoyed it!!! Any chance you'd be willing to let those who can read know what the letter said?

Fantastic one-shot! 10/10!

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm really pleased you enjoyed it. I'm intrigued to know what readers come up with for what the letter said, actually. Personally I like to think of Lizzy being one of the Weasleys' ancestors...

Thank you very much for the review!

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