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The Devil’s Mistress by David Barclay | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Devil's Mistress by David Barclay
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing on March 16 2021
Genres: Horror, Witchcraft, Occult & Supernatural
Pages: 157
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
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four stars - The Devil's Mistress by David Barclay | Book Review

Virginia 1705

Darkness has come to the town of Blackfriar. The beloved millwright, John Ashford, has been poisoned. His daughter, Isabella, stands trial for murder. Rumor has it that she consorted with the Devil to do the deed. That she's become a witch.

The worst thing, however, is what the townsfolk don't know: Isabella is innocent.

After visiting the local enchantress for a simple love spell, her life is beset by catastrophe. Her father turns up dead. Her sadistic fiancé spurns her. Now in shackles, Isabella faces torture and death. Her only friend, the enchantress. The old crone offers Isabella a new choice: continue to suffer at the hands of her tormentors, or become the very thing they fear.

The Devil’s Mistress is superiorly dark and lyrical.  It transcends from bleak to a darker shade of grey.  The witch trials have always been an interesting but upsetting period of history for me.  It’s an enjoyable read but also is a keen investigation into the human condition.  This story looks to examine the depth of the human mind.  Barclay tackles themes of misogyny, sexism, and turning the idea of what a witch should be on its head.  When tackling such a trope, the author has to create protagonists that we want to root for, Barclay has done this with consummate skill.

The Devil’s Mistress takes place in Virginia in the 1700s.  it takes place twelve years after the Salem Witch Trials and thirty years before The Witchcraft Act.  The historical feel surrounds the reader, it’s in the air, every breath you take, every sense on high alert, the atmospheric feel transcends time and leaves you wanting more. 

In a time where marriage was arranged for the benefit of two joining families, it is difficult to piece together how we got to a point now where we have free will to chose our partners.  It was ghastly and is seeped in selfishness more than prospective love.  What kind of fate is that for our children?  Isabella is betrothed to Thomas Huxley, wealthy landowners who are only looking to further their hold over the town and increase their wealth.  Unfortunately for Isabella, this is not a good match, Thomas is a brute who specializes in his brand of narcissism and brutality. 

Isabella knows that nothing good will come from this match, so she needs to find a way out of it.  She simply cannot refuse to marry him.  Her father has become exceedingly ill and she would love nothing than to remedy both problems.  She seeks a woman on the hill, she has heard she could provide her with a spell to help her father AND rid her of her impending marriage.  She enlists the help of her servant boy, Jacob. 

With everything in life, there is a price to pay.

The Devil’s Mistress is my favourite kind of witchy novel, one of betrayal and redemption.  I drowned within the pages of the story.  The darkness consumed me and the author refused to give me a light.  I was treading water and then the plot cracked the ground below me and consumed me.  I loved this story.  My emotions were raw and ragged and the historical accuracy just added to my love for it. 

The Devil’s Mistress is a superb historical horror.  It’s intricate, vivid and intelligent.  A brutal tapestry of redemption.


fJ1XEypK 400x400 - The Devil's Mistress by David Barclay | Book Review

David Barclay is the author of The Aeschylus and 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑙’𝑠 𝑀𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠.

After growing up in Maryland and attending Washington College, David believed he was going to use his English degree for good and become a teacher. Instead, he used it for evil and became a game developer. He’s worked as a designer and writer in the industry for over fifteen years, providing blood sports for the masses and corrupting today’s youth. When he’s not busy in games, he’s writing novels, and is already hard at work on his next project. He enjoys expensive wine, cheap paperbacks, Dark Souls, and all manner of combat sports.

He currently lives in Napa with his two black cats and his wife, novelist Merry Ravenell.


four stars - The Devil's Mistress by David Barclay | Book Review


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