Beth Underdown lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. Her first novel, The Witchfinder's Sister, is based on the life of the 1640s witchfinder Matthew Hopkins. Beth's interest in seventeenth-century England was sparked by the work of her great-uncle David Underdown, one of that period's foremost historians. She came across a brief mention of Matthew Hopkins while reading a book about midwifery, igniting an interest which turned into an all-consuming hunt for the truth about this infamous killer.
THE MOST THRILLING HISTORICAL DEBUT OF 2018 Based on the true story of the infamous witchfinder Matthew Hopkins, with one of the most memorable heroines in recent historical fiction, this haunting novel is perfect for fans of The Miniaturist, Sarah Waters and The Essex Serpent. -- From the publisher 'A compelling debut from a gifted storyteller' -- Sarah Perry * author of The Essex Serpent * Beth Underdown grips us from the outset...at once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller * Patrick Gale * A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel * Ian McGuire * Chilling, gripping, terrifying and exquisitely written * Susan Barker * Thumpingly good -- Lucy Mangan A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel -- Kate Hamer Atmospheric and filled with foreboding, it's a novel that draws you under its spell * Stylist * A haunting, brooding debut * Psychologies * A chilling, creeping novel with parallels to more modern forms of witch-hunts * Red * 'Anyone who liked Cecilia Ekback's Wolf Winter is going to love this. [It's] about tiny braveries and small courage... a real David and Goliath story, but far less straightforward' * Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street * Beth Underdown cleverly creates a compelling atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia... Even from the distance of nearly four hundred years, her Matthew Hopkins is a genuinely frightening monster * Kate Riordan, author of The Girl in the Photograph * 'A clever, pacey read that blends truth and fiction' * The Times * 'A clever novel with a slow burn of horror' * Guardian * 'An accomplished debut novel... this is a powerful, disturbing book, full of drama, with a masterly evocation of England in the 1640s and a sickening final twist' * Sunday Express * 'Superb: dark, terrifying and utterly compelling' -- Tracy Borman 'Alice's voice reaches us with admirable clarity and she tells a truly horrifying story with compassion and intelligence. This is a truly accomplished and satisfying debut novel' -- Adele Geras A novel for our times. Beth Underdown's The Witchfinder's Sister explores another time and another place to lay bare the visceral horror of what a witch hunt truly is * New York Times Book Review * Entertaining and thought-provoking, with a valuable message for our own times * Washington Post *