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The Daylight Gate, By Jeanette Winterson


The Hammer series has been a hit-or-miss affair but this novella of the Pendle witch-es is a perfect fit for Winterson, with its melange of religious fervour, heresy, embattled love and outcaster women.

Winterson knows what she has taken on: "The trial of the Lancashire Witches, 1612, is the most famous of the English witch trials," she writes, before making the story, terrifyingly, her own.

What is clear amid the poverty and brutality here is that other-worldy evil is far outweighed by the harm that human beings inflict.