Cover Image: The Secrets of Thistle Cottage

The Secrets of Thistle Cottage

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Tess Blyth has moved to Witches Cottage, North Berwick, after a scandal involving her husband, who has now been sent to prison. The backlash hit Tess hard so she moved here, with her daughter Jem, to try to make a new life where no one knows them. 
In 1661 the occupants of the cottage are Honor Seton and her daughter Alice. Honor is the local healer, but in these times, the healers are often thought to be witches, and when their healing fails, the people turn on them. 

I like the premise of this book, with the occupants of the same cottage living parallel lives despite there being hundreds of years between them, showing how nothing really changes. Ignorance still makes people’s lives a misery when assumptions are made without all the facts. It also shows how modern day technology can cause problems when used without out thinking, and once it’s out there it’s very difficult to stop it spreading. A nice satisfying read, with unexpected endings. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I’m sorry. I really thought I’d enjoy this based on the description but I just couldn’t get into it at all. I struggled through a little over half and then just left it. I intended to go back but never did and don’t feel like I’m missing out. Just not the book for me.
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A cottage connects the lives of these four women; two mother and daughters. Both families are affected by false rumours and allegations.
The story flits between 1661 and the modern day but it flows well. 
It was so interesting to read about how witches were hunted and tried. It lead me to look up more of the real trials.
A good easy read that keeps you guessing.
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I loved that the stories were linked in a dual timeline and I love history so this was a win for me! Great book!
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I would recommend this book as well-written, escapism I highly recommend this book for a nice lighthearted read with a very deep meaning which will stay with you once you have finished reading the book.
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I very much liked the juxtaposition of two mothers and two daughters caught up in parallel  fight against hysteria and blame. The crime of men, vainly trying to maintain powerful positions, whilst the women in their spheres are scapegoated and forced to make stands, drawing on  reserves of bravery (and other more unworldly strength) to ward of distrust and judgement.

The 17th Century setting and the ominous atmosphere that Honor and Alice live in as they heal and treat  their neighbours and friends  and raise suspicions in the minds of those afraid an threatened by independence in the fairer sex, is involving.

The modern day “witch hunt” is familiar to anyone who passes the most casual glance over Social Media. People make assumptions, poke their noses in and judge the actions of others multiple times a day but when revenge and retribution move off the screen into real life things take a dark turn.

A brisk and engaging read that I enjoyed very much.
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The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett is a compelling story of a modern-day witch-hunt. It takes place in four perspectives: Tess, a solicitor, and her daughter, Jemima, and Honor, a widow in 1661 and her daughter, Alice. Tess and Jem have run since Tess' husband, Alistair, had been convicted and imprisoned for raping and molesting young woman with whom her worked. The public at large blamed them, when they had known nothing of his sins. Tess had stood by him at first: her was her husband. Now they had moved to a remote village, assumed Tess' maiden name, and were trying to build a life. As part of a history project, Jem and her friend, Cassie, discovered that Thistle Cottage, Jem's home, had been the home of accused witches, Honor and Alice Seton. Since they had to do a history project attaching something historic to how it would affect people in today's world, they went with it, despite having no idea how it connected. Then things started happening. It was nearly Halloween. Was that it?

What a wonderful, fulfilling the theme of the girls' history project. In today's world of social media, accusations and miscommunications are enough to skewer a person, in this case, two people. Tess made a poorly thought out tweet referring to Jem's being bullied at school, which was immediately misunderstood and made her a pariah. No matter what kind of person she was, her husband's misdeeds followed her. Some people cared, others didn't. Then there were the crazy people. Following Honor and Alice's story was very stressful, knowing what happened to witches at that time, and waiting for it to happen to them. It was a timely and interesting story, pointing out the evils of groupthink and social media. I recommend it. 

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of The Secrets of Thistle Cottage. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #thesecretsofthistlecottage
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An engrossing and entertaining story, poignant and fascinating.
The dual timeline works well and I love to read about the women who lived in the cottage and what happened to them.
The contemporary timeline is interesting and the characters are fleshed.
The author is a good storyteller and the plot kept me hooked.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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The Secrets of Thistle Cottage is a dual timeline story about a mother and daughter (in both eras), trying to overcome rumors and lies and live their lives. 

The present day time line is about Jess and her daughter Jen who are trying to get away from terrible publicity surrounding their husband/father. They move to a small village in the hopes that no one will recognize them, and try to start over. They buy Thistle Cottage which 450 years ago, was the home of Honor and her daughter Alice, who were accused of witchcraft, but really, Honor was a healer and a midwife. 

Both timelines were compelling, and it was interesting to see how both sets of women were branded by the actions of men. The plot was engaging, and the characters were well written. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A wonderful dual timeline story exploring the theme of witchhunts - both traditional ones from the 17th century and modern day, social media hunts. Filled with memorable and very real characters who you find yourself rooting for. Loved the parallels and the way these weren't overdone - the link is the setting of Thistle Cottage and the theme.
Highly recommended for all lovers of dual timeline or historical fiction.
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I'm going to start off my saying timeslip books are not my thing. My favorite part of this book was the historical bit, with Honor and Alice. That story I was waiting on the edge of my seat for, I was really invested in the lives of Honor and Alice and wanted to know what happened to them. The main part of the story with Tess and Jem, I didn't like as much. From the parts I did like the author seems like she has major potential, but the modern parts fell a little flat to me. The main story started off pretty slow, and didn't really speed up until the last few chapters. This book is alright, but it could have just been the genre for me, not the fault of the author.

Tess and Jem had to move away from Edinburgh because of a scandal that lands Tess's now ex and Jem's dad in prison, and with him being a tv celebrity the fall was devastating and far reaching. Determined to start somewhere fresh, Tess and jem move to Thistle Cottage where they hide from the cruel and damaging reach of the media, and social media. For a school project Jem becomes fascinated with the lives of two of the women who lived in their house, the one's accused of being witches. Honor is a woman who has power in the 1600s, she is also the local healing woman.  When she and her daughter, Alice, fail to save the town lord's wife, he starts a crusade against them leading to accusations of witchcraft. Can Honor and Alice escape the accusations, or will they succumb to the fire of their accused?
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I have enjoyed other books from Kerry Barrett and this one was no exception. Dual time books are a favorite of mine, and this was a great addition to the genre.

The story follows mothers and daughters in the present and in 1661. In the present we have Tess and  her teenage daughter Jem fleeing Edinburgh from the scandal and incarceration of Tess’ husband Alistair for sexual assault. Tess is hoping to find a safe place for herself and her daughter after the horror that her husband’s behavior put them through. They find a small but lovely cottage  im North Berwick called Thistle cottage and settle in. Jem and her school friend have to do a history report and settle on the history of the cottage which is known locally as the Witch’s cottage. In 1661 we have mother and daughter Honor and Alice, both well versed in the healing arts, which is not something they want to advertise in the era of witch hunts. Honor has an enemy in the local lord who is enraged that Honor is a burgess via her deceased husband, and has the ability to deny him the rights to drag the harbor and ruin the fishing for the town, the main living for the locals. What is a lord to do when a woman in the 17th century gets above her station? Well call in the Witch finder of course. So begins the research of what happened to Honor and Alice. 

Tess and Jem meanwhile are finding their feet with the locals and the history of their cottage. Have they found the safe harbor that they are looking for?

I really enjoyed the dual time period of this book and the historical aspect, it is scary how quickly people could turn on one another due to superstitons, If you are a fan of historical fiction and dual time novels, give The Secrets of Thistle Cottage a go, you will not be disappointed. 

Thank you to Netgalley, HQ Digital and the author Kerry Barrett for the chance to read and review this book.
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The story is set in North Berwick north of Edinburgh where Thistle Cottage becomes the home of Tess Blyth and her daughter Jem. They move here to escape the scandal of Tess’s ex-husband and his mistreatment of young girls. They work really hard to build a new life with a job for Tess and a new school for Jem. However someone does know their secret and he means them harm...
In the 1661 the cottage is home to healer Honor Seton and her daughter Alice. The local laird cannot forgive Honor for not saving his wife from the plague and sets about a real witch hunt against them.
The two stories are told as a dual timeline and this works really well. We care about them all and did Alice manage to save Jem after a storm? Who knows but what does happen is that the two young girls manage to save their mothers, which is a good ending to a brilliant story.
This book shows that witch hunts still happen today and it takes good people to stand with the accused to stop them.
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A fascinating story about women who were thought to be witches. Dual time line with the present day story showing how the woman who now lives in Thistle Cottage soon realises it was called Witches Cottage and that there are dark secrets in its walls......
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Another lovely book from this author.  I enjoyed this one so much especially the dual time line.  My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
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Wow! Absolute gem of a book. Very well thought out bit spooky at times but a real easy read that kept the pages turning.
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Tess and her daughter Jemima are hiding out in North Berwick after her husband was convicted of sex offenses.  Little do they know when they rent Thistle Cottage that in 1661, it was the home of Honor and her daughter Alice, herbalists who were accused of witchcraft.  It's a dual time line novel that explores a number of issues.  Although all four women have their say and some creepy things happen in the modern day, it's Honor and Alice's story that's most interesting.  They were valued by their community until Honor was unable to help the wife of the laird and he took vengeance on her.  The madness of crowds, indeed.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of historical fiction.
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A dual timeline finally that really really works for me. A feminist portrayal of the 1600s and modern day.
A mother and daughter are picking up the pieces and starting a new life in the aftermath of their husband/father being sent to prison for sexual assault. 
They start their new life in a "Witch cottage" and therein unfolds Alice and Honor's story. I loved the way the two stories wove together but also how women were treated in their respective time periods. Honor is seen as a threat as her dead husband gave her rights men only usually have. Tess has to handle social media in order to survive. 
Great stories of witchcraft, few unexpected turns along the way, a few creepy goings on. This has everything.
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In 1661, Honor Seton, widowed and living in Thistle Cottage, North Berwick, inherits her deceased husband’s title of Burgess of the Town.  She is well known and respected by most of the fishermen who were colleagues of her husband, and also by the townswomen who  frequently call upon her knowledge of plant and herb treatments for ailments as well as her ability to ensure safe deliveries of babies.  Her main enemy is Gregor Mackenzie, the local Laird.  At a meeting of the Burgesses (Honor being the only female) he announces that he wants to dredge the harbour, something that all the fishermen fear will put them out of business.  Needless to say Honor objects.  Shortly afterwards illness descends on the town and affects the Laird’s wife and the young son of his brother, Davey, who calls upon Honor and begs her and her daughter, Alice, to see if they can cure them.  Honor soon realises that the Laird’s wife has little chance of responding to her herbal remedies, but does her best to help.  Whilst the lady of the house dies the young lad recovers.  Gregor blames Honor for his wife’s death and ultimately accuses her of witchcraft.

We move on to the present day and find newly divorced Tess Blyth and her daughter, Jemima, living in Thistle Cottage, having moved from Edinburgh to start a new life and to escape from the stigma caused by her well known television presenter husband being imprisoned for gross misconduct.   They try hard to seek anonymity but things start to happen which make them uneasy.  Jem finds evidence of Honor and Alice’s previous occupation of the house and together with a school friend they undertake a historical project........ 

This is a beautifully written book and a gripping tale, frightening at times, funny at times, but a most enjoyable read.
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To be perfectly honest, I requested this book, because of the location! Hubby and I adore North Berwick, for the past 15 years, we have spent at least three months there every year, as we travel around Scotland, and now, after reading this book, I have a good reason to return when this lockdown is finally lifted!! I’m going on a Witch hunt!! 
Told in dual timelines, but the same location used, this is about the infamous witch trials of North Berwick in the 17 century. In 1661, Honor Seton and her daughter Alice are the main characters. Honor is a skilled herbalist, midwife and has medical skills. She is also educated and this is seen as immodest behaviour to the local menfolk, women shouldn’t hold positions of power or knowledge, it goes against the preordained order, as expounded by the preacher John Knox. Alice helps her mother in these tasks.  They are both summoned by the local Laird to help save the life of his ill wife, but despite all their efforts, she dies, and then the rumours of witchcraft start. 
In present day North Berwick, Tess Blyth and her daughter Jess move to Thistle Cottage, to escape unwelcome press attention, and to try and make a new start for themselves. Tess’s husband has been sent to prison after being found guilty of sexual assault charges, both are seeking sanctuary. When Jess starts a history project at her new school, she finds that Thistle Cottage is where  Honor and Alice lived. 
The effects of witch trials and modern day witch hunts are vividly compared and contrasted. It looks at the notion of strong women and prejudiced males, and how fear of ability and skills, can lead to women being unfairly victimised. 
I really loved these central characters, the way that mothers and daughters can find mutual love and respect for each other, and how they can pass on valuable life skills, no matter what era we live in. I found the male characters to be needy in respect of praise and esteem being due to them, but this is not an overtly feminist novel.
The North Berwick witch trials mention an Agnes Sampson, who was a midwife and a Gellie Duncan who was a healer, and a Memento Mori in St Andrews Kirk, so that will be my starting place later on this year. I might even find Thistle Cottage, I wonder if it will be for sale?!! 
A pleasant read, it brought back happy memories for me, and gives me a plan for this year. A four star read. 
My thanks to HQ Digital for my advance copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I will leave reviews later.
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