Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘We’re waking her corpse.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I loved Nannie Burdon the moment I met her. Sorry everyone, but I think I like her better than Cherry Cerise (though of course Aunt Alice will always hold the top spot as far as Whitby Witches are concerned.)
In this book we see evidence of thorough research into the lives of late-Victorian Whitby folk, and the detail is, as always with Mr Jarvis, to a very high standard. I’ve always enjoyed the thought he puts into his historical characters, be they well-trumpeted figures like Elizabeth I, or embellished approximations of ordinary people, like Will Godwin. Nannie Burdon continues a long tradition of such characters, and immediately comes to life as a product of her time, albeit with a distinctly Robiny edge.
Matt’s Thoughts: Does Robin never run out of characters? I’m still amazed by his ability to somehow keep plots moving forward – his stories are always propulsive – and yet if a new character appears, they instantly have enough differentiating features to make them memorable in their own right. (Whether it be their look, their accent or their outlook on life.)
Ditto for Nannie Burdon here – already she’s a completely different type of woman from Alice Boston, Scaur Annie or Cherry Cerise – and yet so immediately the Whitby Witch. And when you see her determination to avenge Grace, it becomes apparent what the common thread is for Whitby Witches: when they need to protect, they are fearless.