A glitteringly dark historical novel of love, persecution, and survival set against the backdrop of one of history's most terrifying episodes: the Bubonic Plague.
It is 1665 and the women of Eyam village keep many secrets. Especially Isabel and Mae.
Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about the pious, reclusive apothecary, on whom she is keeping a watchful eye.
Mae, the apothecary's youngest daughter, dreads her father's rage if he discovers what she keeps from him: her feelings for Rafe, Isabel's ward, or the fact that she studies from her father's books at night.
But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.
When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril. Meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all. . .
About the Author
Joanne Burn lives in the Peak District of England, where she is a writing coach. Her first novel, Petals and Stones, was published in 2018 by Little Brown UK. The Hemlock Cure is her first novel to be published in America.
Praise for The Hemlock Cure:
“An exquisitely written tale of resilience and reckoning, with female protagonists that are just the right blend of compassion and simmering rebellion.”
— SONIA VELTON, author of 'Blackberry and Wild Rose'
“An intricate, detailed and beautifully written story of the women of Eyam. It's vivid and poetic, powerfully building tension as their secrets unravel.”
— JENNIFER SAINT, Sunday times bestselling author of 'Ariadne'
“Artfully written and nuanced, The Hemlock Cure is a carefully researched take on Eyam's sad history, with a rich cast of characters that keep you turning the page."
— SUSAN STOKES-CHAPMAN, author of 'Pandora'
“In a wholly original take on the Eyam story, Joanne Burn's elegant prose, rich in authentic detail, results in a rewarding and timely read.”
— SARAH BURTON, author of 'The Strange Adventures of H'
“Lyrically written, The Hemlock Cure propels the reader into the seventeenth-century world of potions and mystery. These are not powerless women but women with their own sense of ambition and destiny.”
— RHIANNON WARD, author of 'The Quickening'
“Spellbinding and profound, The Hemlock Cure is a dazzling act of reclamation of the truth of women's lives. Burn writes beautifully about female courage and retribution, of the ties that make and bind a family, and different ways of belonging. This is a compassionate and intensely moving novel that is rich in meaning and hugely resonant for our own plague-struck era.”
— NIKKI MARMERY, author of 'On Wilder Seas'
“Set against the backdrop of Eyam's famous plague, this page-turning novel delves deep into danger. The darkest threats, we learn, come not from illness or contagion, but from cruelties encompassed by those closest to us. And the writing is beautiful—its delicacy and precision creating a strong sense of place—full of scents, sounds and texture.”
— ANNIE GARTHWAITE, author of 'Cecily'
“A beautiful, bewitching and powerful tale of brave women's lives. I absolutely loved it.”
— ROZ WATKINS, author of 'The Devil's Dice'
“The writing is exquisite, the period detail sensuous and immersive. I can't stop thinking about this beautiful story.”
— EMMA CARROLL, author of 'Frost Hollow Hall'
“Deeply unsettling, tense, yet ultimately hopeful, The Hemlock Cure sweeps the reader up into its potions, scents, colours and secrets. It is affecting and beautifully observed—a mesmerizing novel."
— ROSIE ANDREWS, author of 'The Leviathan'