Book Review

Book Review – Hiding From The Light

hiding from the light book coverWhat’s it about?

This is the story of Emma, a London career girl who inexplicably is drawn to a cottage on the north Essex coast. She begins to dream about a historical character from the cottage and as the story unfolds she begins to realise that she is not the only local person being haunted by the past.

The historical setting of this story is Matthew Hopkins, Cromwell’s Witchfinder General from the 17th Century, and his hunt and persecution of witches in the area. 

Where is it set?

It is set in Mistley and Manningtree which are in North Essex. 

Who are the main characters?

The story is centred around Emma and the spirit of the witch Liza, whose cottage it is that Emma moves to. As the story unfolds other characters begin to assert themselves including the local vicar, a modern day white witch and a TV crew who are hoping to catch some ghostly goings on inside a shop that is said to have been Matthew Hopkins’ inn in 1644. 

How well is it written?

I thought this was extremely well written – the characters are well rounded and totally believable (if you can suspend your disbelief about ghosts speaking to modern day people through dreams that is!) and I couldn’t tell if there were any plot holes in the overall thing. The local area was well described and the atmosphere of the Essex marshes was conjured up perfectly for me.

 My overall impression?

I like ghost stories, and I like historical fiction too so this book was right up my street. I really wanted Emma to sort her love-life out too which appealed to my sense of romance. A cracking tale, well told, just enough “spook” in it to be scary without resorting to reading it in daylight and just enough historical detail to make it interesting without coming across as a lecture. It prompted me to go and read more about Matthew Hopkins and I want to visit the area it is set on our holidays this summer, so yeah, you could say I loved this!

Will I read the next in the series?

This is a standalone book but Barbara Erskine has written several stories in the same sort of genre as this. My first taste of this type of time-slip setting was “The Lady of Hay”, also by Barbara Erskine and I have to say that she is pretty much a master at it.

Would I recommend it to my friends?

Yes I would. If you are interested in history, a bit of romance, a bit of a ghost story and the good old battle between good and evil then this book is for you.

Pam’s heart rating: 5/5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥




3 thoughts on “Book Review – Hiding From The Light”

  1. I used to love reading English historical fiction. I think in the 1990s I started reading all the Susan Howatch books. I got most of them out of the local library. From 2000 on my eyesight deteriorated a lot and I found myself reading less and less. Over the last couple of years I read a few e-books. This went rather well for I can enlarge the print. I used to sometimes get large print books out of the library. These days I think I usually spend too much time on the computer. After a while my eyes need a rest and I don’t feel like reading books. Sadly, I don’t make enough time for books anymore. Barbara Erskine sounds like a great author. I sure would love to read her books. If I could just get myself to read a bit more again!
    Have you read any books by Susan Howatch, Pam? I used to love reading her fiction.


    1. I haven’t heard of Susan Howatch Uta, but I think I’ll give her a try. I’m sorry that your eyesight doesn’t allow you to read books any more – I think I would be totally lost if I couldn’t read!! I’ve just started to read Gone With The Wind, which my Kindle assures me will offer me a good 23 hours of reading to get to the end of. I’m reading other things as well, but my night-time reading at the moment is set in the deep south of America. Interesting to see how the prejudices and practices at that time are being played out in the story and how it’s not difficult to see where the roots of the civil rights movement were sown.

      I love reading – it opens up so many worlds that we wouldn’t otherwise experience!


  2. I love reading too, Pam. it’s just that I take it very slowly these days. It’s not just my eyes that tire easily, it’s my whole body, In the evening I often go to sleep in front of the TV for a little bit. But I don’t like to go to bed too early, otherwise I wake up too early in the morning!
    I sleep only for about seven hours, waking up around 6 am. I seem to have the most energy in the early morning hours. In the afternoon I tend to slow down a lot. I have to try not to rush things anyway for otherwise I tend to get out of breath. When I concentrate on breathing out properly I’m usually all right. Sometimes I still get a rapid heart beat. Then I just have to rest a bit.
    Susan Howatch writes novels as big as ‘Gone with the Wind’. Her historical novels about the Anglican Church in England I found fascinating. They go over several centuries right to the present day. I think there are five or six really big books. Plus she wrote a few other books. I’d love to read them all again. At the moment I reread some of the Lily Brett books. Lily Brett is one of my favourite authors too.


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