The Lightbody Legacy Carolyn Ruffles

In 1645, Martha’s days of being the respected healer in the tiny village of Wickthorpe are over, mostly for reasons that are nothing to do with healing or witchcraft. Now she is being dragged to Dark Water lake for trial by drowning. As she takes her last breath before being plunged into the water, tied to a chair, she sets a curse on the village and its inhabitants.

In the modern day, Deborah Ryecroft returns to Wickthorpe to live in the family farmhouse for one year. While her deeply unhappy childhood might have been enough to drive her away 30 years ago, the final incentive had come from a tragedy leading to rumours that the curse still haunts the village and that, through Deborah, the witch has returned.

In the intervening years, Deborah has done very well for herself, and is renowned as a hard-nosed and successful business woman. But her hopes that the old stories of curses and witches have faded, are quickly dashed – there are people who not only remember, but have never forgiven. Deborah, however, has allies. Which is more than poor Martha had.

The Lightbody Legacy is a closely written portrayal of the best and the worst of small communities with long memories, and with some wonderfully portrayed secondary characters (Who won’t love Honoraria?). It is also a fascinating tale of how grief will make even normally rational people seek relief in scapegoats, however bizarre their beliefs may be and the actions they lead to.

Find The Lightbody Legacy here.

Martha’s tragic story is told through her diary, where her hopes and then fears are beautifully revealed to the reader. Although we know its ending (or do we? there’s a mystery there too), we follow her path with growing angst and with rising fury at the real motivation for her persecution – a man who won’t take no for an answer. A common enough tale, then and now.

In what might appear a stark contrast, Deborah has all the weapons of a modern and wealthy woman at her disposal in her fight against the witchy rumours. And, after all, this is not 1645. But as her story unfolds, merging horrifically with that of Martha’s, Ruffles successfully ups the tension and the drama to keep those pages turning. Surely not? we ask … And swipe that reader for more.

An engrossing tale with a twisty plot, characters to love or hate, and enough village gossip to last many afternoon teas. Highly recommended.

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