Saturday, July 23, 2016

Of Sorrow & Such, by Angela Slattery (author)

Macmillan Audio, October 2015

Patience Gideon is living quietly in a village in the English countryside. She has to live quietly; she's a witch. Her neighbors are, many of them at least, happy to avail themselves of her healing skills, but she knows too well this is always precarious. If she makes an enemy or catches the attention of the wrong churchman, she could burn.

(Let me pause here for a complaint. Everything suggests that this is post-Reformation England, not anywhere on the continent. In England, they didn't burn witches; they hanged them. Everyone sticks with burning in witch hunt stories, though, because it's more satisfyingly extreme and barbaric. Who needs facts?)

Having made that complaint, I'll move on, and say that this is a very well-done story. Patience's story, her history, her magic, and her complex yet shaky relations with her neighbors unfold gracefully. trying to help some of her fellow magic workers leads to a crisis, and Patience has to decide whether she's going to save herself, or save her adopted daughter.

It's very well-done. Recommended.

This story was originally published on Tor.com, and is included in the Tor.com Collection: Season 1, which I bought from Audible.