Cover Image: The Secrets of Thistle Cottage

The Secrets of Thistle Cottage

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A brilliant book which I couldn’t put down, atmospheric and conjuring a real sense of mystery and danger. .  Witchfinding in one century mirrors with a similar story in modern..  When Tess and her daughter flee to a new town to escape their old  lives following a very public scandal they never imagined becoming involved in the story of their new cottage and it’s earlier inhabitants.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fast-moving story and a light read despite the heavy theme. The women in both timelines face prejudice, animosity and threats fuelled by mass hysteria and a mob mentality. The story shows how lies and gossip can have devastating and far-reaching consequences whether spread by word of mouth or on social media.
I enjoyed the witches storyline. Knowing what historically happened to women like them I couldn't shake the foreboding sense of doom facing Honor and her daughter.
The present timeline had a similar feel but I didn't have the same fear for Tess and Jen as they had the privilege of having rights and the protection of law enforcement.
I felt that the ending was rushed a little bit with everything working out too neatly for all involved. However, this was a book I found difficult to put down. I loved the historical elements and the dual timelines
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Historical fiction meets beach read meets modern day morality tale. We, as modern folks, like to think that we would never succumb to the witch hunts of old. However, this book shows that the only thing that separates then from now is time. Human nature is slow to adapt. 

Told in a dual dual narrative style (each pair of mother & daughter) and dual timeline, it’s an easy read but there are some anachronisms (one example - the word bully is used incorrectly for the 17th century as it was basically the antonym of today’s meaning).

All in all, this was my first time reading this author and whenever I want to escape to the past, but not hurt my brain in doing so, I will definitely pick up another title they’ve written.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book to review.
Was this review helpful?
This is an easy to read, quite sweet, book that doesn't trouble you too much. Almost a straight whodunnit with some basic commentary about the evils of social media and historical throwbacks to the time of witches. 
Quite domestic and simple, not enough thrills or chills to really worry anyone. 
The idea of becoming a modern pariah in parallel to how wise women were treated in centuries past is a great one and would love to see it explored in a much more hard hitting novel.
Was this review helpful?
Kerry Barrett is such a talented writer and The Secrets of Thistle Cottage is yet another wonderful book! Ms Barrett skilfully weaves the two timelines to keep the reader gripped. An intriguing exploration of how women have been treated across the ages with fascinating historical details and vivid characterisation. 5 stars!
Was this review helpful?
I don’t normally enjoy books set in two timelines but this intertwined them beautifully. The same cottage but 400 years apart. Similar stories showing how things haven’t changed that much. Brilliantly described characters.
Was this review helpful?
This is a dual timeline book with Honor Seton and her daughter Alice in the 1700s and Tess Blyth with her daughter Jemima in the present day.  Each of them have their own points of view with dedicated chapters.  Honor and Alice are called to the Laird's home when illness takes hold.  Not everyone recovered and events conspire to have Honor be accused as a witch.  In present day Tess has escaped a huge scandal caused by her husband in Edinburgh. Tess and Jem try to settle into a quiet life when someone keeps vandalizing their home.  It was an enjoyable escape.  Thank you #NetGalley for the opportunity to give my honest and voluntary opinion on #TheSecretsOfThistleCottage.
Was this review helpful?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are two stories intertwined, both about women living with their daughters; one is set in the present day, the other in 1661.  The lives of Honor and her daughter Alice in 1661, and Tess and her daughter Jen are so very different, yet the events that happen mirror each other without seeming at all forced.  Thistle Cottage is where they live, in 1661 Honor owned it after her husband, a fisherman, drowned. Then, she had a lot of land, and was a Burgess - a town councillor- so a woman of importance at a time when women could not read and write, vote, or have their own money and property.  When Tess and her daughter move there it is to escape from the gossip in Edinburgh, where Tess’s husband, a well-known television personality, had been imprisoned as a paedophile.  Both families are trying to live quietly, in peace, but events overtake them. However, the way the local people act at their oppression is totally unexpected, particularly in the 1661 story.

This is probably one of the best books I have read for the way two stories seamlessly intertwine.  You learn a lot about life in the 1600’s for ordinary people.  A really enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
A good story ,mixing the past with the present.,good characters. Very topical in the present day part of the story and a good insight into the witch hunts of the past.
Was this review helpful?
Tess Blyth has moved to Witches Cottage, North Berwick, after a scandal involving her husband, who has now been sent to prison. The backlash hit Tess hard so she moved here, with her daughter Jem, to try to make a new life where no one knows them. 
In 1661 the occupants of the cottage are Honor Seton and her daughter Alice. Honor is the local healer, but in these times, the healers are often thought to be witches, and when their healing fails, the people turn on them. 

I like the premise of this book, with the occupants of the same cottage living parallel lives despite there being hundreds of years between them, showing how nothing really changes. Ignorance still makes people’s lives a misery when assumptions are made without all the facts. It also shows how modern day technology can cause problems when used without out thinking, and once it’s out there it’s very difficult to stop it spreading. A nice satisfying read, with unexpected endings. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Was this review helpful?
I’m sorry. I really thought I’d enjoy this based on the description but I just couldn’t get into it at all. I struggled through a little over half and then just left it. I intended to go back but never did and don’t feel like I’m missing out. Just not the book for me.
Was this review helpful?
A cottage connects the lives of these four women; two mother and daughters. Both families are affected by false rumours and allegations.
The story flits between 1661 and the modern day but it flows well. 
It was so interesting to read about how witches were hunted and tried. It lead me to look up more of the real trials.
A good easy read that keeps you guessing.
Was this review helpful?
I loved that the stories were linked in a dual timeline and I love history so this was a win for me! Great book!
Was this review helpful?
I would recommend this book as well-written, escapism I highly recommend this book for a nice lighthearted read with a very deep meaning which will stay with you once you have finished reading the book.
Was this review helpful?
I very much liked the juxtaposition of two mothers and two daughters caught up in parallel  fight against hysteria and blame. The crime of men, vainly trying to maintain powerful positions, whilst the women in their spheres are scapegoated and forced to make stands, drawing on  reserves of bravery (and other more unworldly strength) to ward of distrust and judgement.

The 17th Century setting and the ominous atmosphere that Honor and Alice live in as they heal and treat  their neighbours and friends  and raise suspicions in the minds of those afraid an threatened by independence in the fairer sex, is involving.

The modern day “witch hunt” is familiar to anyone who passes the most casual glance over Social Media. People make assumptions, poke their noses in and judge the actions of others multiple times a day but when revenge and retribution move off the screen into real life things take a dark turn.

A brisk and engaging read that I enjoyed very much.
Was this review helpful?
The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett is a compelling story of a modern-day witch-hunt. It takes place in four perspectives: Tess, a solicitor, and her daughter, Jemima, and Honor, a widow in 1661 and her daughter, Alice. Tess and Jem have run since Tess' husband, Alistair, had been convicted and imprisoned for raping and molesting young woman with whom her worked. The public at large blamed them, when they had known nothing of his sins. Tess had stood by him at first: her was her husband. Now they had moved to a remote village, assumed Tess' maiden name, and were trying to build a life. As part of a history project, Jem and her friend, Cassie, discovered that Thistle Cottage, Jem's home, had been the home of accused witches, Honor and Alice Seton. Since they had to do a history project attaching something historic to how it would affect people in today's world, they went with it, despite having no idea how it connected. Then things started happening. It was nearly Halloween. Was that it?

What a wonderful, fulfilling the theme of the girls' history project. In today's world of social media, accusations and miscommunications are enough to skewer a person, in this case, two people. Tess made a poorly thought out tweet referring to Jem's being bullied at school, which was immediately misunderstood and made her a pariah. No matter what kind of person she was, her husband's misdeeds followed her. Some people cared, others didn't. Then there were the crazy people. Following Honor and Alice's story was very stressful, knowing what happened to witches at that time, and waiting for it to happen to them. It was a timely and interesting story, pointing out the evils of groupthink and social media. I recommend it. 

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of The Secrets of Thistle Cottage. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #thesecretsofthistlecottage
Was this review helpful?
An engrossing and entertaining story, poignant and fascinating.
The dual timeline works well and I love to read about the women who lived in the cottage and what happened to them.
The contemporary timeline is interesting and the characters are fleshed.
The author is a good storyteller and the plot kept me hooked.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
The Secrets of Thistle Cottage is a dual timeline story about a mother and daughter (in both eras), trying to overcome rumors and lies and live their lives. 

The present day time line is about Jess and her daughter Jen who are trying to get away from terrible publicity surrounding their husband/father. They move to a small village in the hopes that no one will recognize them, and try to start over. They buy Thistle Cottage which 450 years ago, was the home of Honor and her daughter Alice, who were accused of witchcraft, but really, Honor was a healer and a midwife. 

Both timelines were compelling, and it was interesting to see how both sets of women were branded by the actions of men. The plot was engaging, and the characters were well written. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful dual timeline story exploring the theme of witchhunts - both traditional ones from the 17th century and modern day, social media hunts. Filled with memorable and very real characters who you find yourself rooting for. Loved the parallels and the way these weren't overdone - the link is the setting of Thistle Cottage and the theme.
Highly recommended for all lovers of dual timeline or historical fiction.
Was this review helpful?
I'm going to start off my saying timeslip books are not my thing. My favorite part of this book was the historical bit, with Honor and Alice. That story I was waiting on the edge of my seat for, I was really invested in the lives of Honor and Alice and wanted to know what happened to them. The main part of the story with Tess and Jem, I didn't like as much. From the parts I did like the author seems like she has major potential, but the modern parts fell a little flat to me. The main story started off pretty slow, and didn't really speed up until the last few chapters. This book is alright, but it could have just been the genre for me, not the fault of the author.

Tess and Jem had to move away from Edinburgh because of a scandal that lands Tess's now ex and Jem's dad in prison, and with him being a tv celebrity the fall was devastating and far reaching. Determined to start somewhere fresh, Tess and jem move to Thistle Cottage where they hide from the cruel and damaging reach of the media, and social media. For a school project Jem becomes fascinated with the lives of two of the women who lived in their house, the one's accused of being witches. Honor is a woman who has power in the 1600s, she is also the local healing woman.  When she and her daughter, Alice, fail to save the town lord's wife, he starts a crusade against them leading to accusations of witchcraft. Can Honor and Alice escape the accusations, or will they succumb to the fire of their accused?
Was this review helpful?