The Forest of Moon and Sword by Amy Raphael

Written by Amy Raphael, Published by Orion Books, 7 January 2021

This book starts thrilling and there is never a dull moment right through to the end. I admit my heart was in my throat at the thoughts that this tale has basis in truth. Witch hunts, trials and the murder of women and girls is a dark part of England’s history.

Hopkins was a terrifying man who had unfounded bias and hatred towards women, believing he was purging the world of them for good reasons.

Our story begins in a room of women, not speaking and barely daring to breathe as they await the soldiers coming to take them away. They have all been accused of being witches. Art, our young heroine, manages to hide and vows to find and save her mother before she can be hung on the night of summer solstice.

What follows is a dangerous journey from Scotland through England to the doorstep of the Witchfinder General. In a letter from her mother, Art has been advised to be open to guides, and she certainly meets helpful friends along the way, who protect her, heal her and give her strength. Art is an admirable character, willing to risk everything to save her parent. She travels alone as a boy finding her own way and learning to believe in herself and to have the courage to carry on.

Daring sword fights, lucky escapes and a heart full of love for her mother accompany Art on her journey. She proves herself to be fierce, determined and strong.

This would make an exceptional class read aloud!

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