The Cunning Woman’s Cup by Susan Hewitt #bookreview #DuddoStones @sue9631

The Cunning Woman's CupThe Cunning Woman’s Cup by Sue Hewitt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Cunning Woman’s Cup is a contemporary piece of fiction woven around ancient standing stones and family dramas. It is set in Duddo, Northumberland near the Scottish border.

There is an ancient stone circle at Duddo made of 5 megaliths. We are introduced to Mordwand of the Brigantes a healing woman burned at the stake. Her story threads throughout the book in a series of small flashbacks.

Alice McCleish lives with Nipper, her dog, close to the standing stones. The small community is close and supportive of each other and Alice is one of the backbones of village life. She meets Margaret Allerton whilst out walking and they begin a friendship which will give them both a new lease of life.

I loved the way the author built this story introducing new layers and new characters once I’d got a good picture and feel for the place. Alice employs Brian Rigden to help restore her garden to the splendour it once was when her husband Callum was alive. Callum was a man at one with the land and the spirits which watched over them, while Alice was a true believer in God and his church. They agreed to disagree on spiritual matters.

It’s Brian who discovers an ancient cup whilst digging in the garden and the rare find warrants a full archaeological dig. The cup’s discovery starts off a whole series of changing events, Violet Turnbull has not left the house for nearly 30 years. An Agrophobic until she talks to Maisie one of the young students from the dig. With help from Maisie’s Aunt, Violet takes her own destiny onto her hands.

There’s so much more I’d love to tell you about the book, but I’d give too much away. I thought it was an inspiring read, I was off baking my own bread and yearning to make some lemon curd, but more importantly I was researching more about Duddo stones and I’d never thought much about the new business which takes over Henge Farm, but now I’m mulling it over as a sensible option to our human needs.

This book left me with questions, got me thinking, sent shivers down my spine, had me laughing and crying and although I knew it must end, I really didn’t want it to, I’d found a new friend, now I’m just off for a spiritual walk to the stones and then I’ll settle down for coffee cake and tea with Alice and Nipper.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Bending The Boyne by J.S.Dunn

Bending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient IrelandBending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient Ireland by J.S. Dunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bending The Boyne is set around 2200BCE in Eire (Ireland) Here live simple folk, stone-cutters, potters, weavers and Star-watchers. These people live with the land and learn from the stars. They have mounds built and carve on stones, they celebrate the Equinoxes and plot shifts of the moon and the sun.

The people of the river Boyne watch as invaders come in boats across the sea in search of copper and gold. The invaders are harsh, brutal and do not understand the simple star-watchers, they declare ownership of the land and tax the people of their crops and animals.

Boann and Cian are the future of the star-watcher people, they both realise that progress is inevitable and change happens, but they go about helping their people in different ways. Boann marries the invader Elcmar and tries to keep an alliance between the two peoples. She is a strong woman who defies the rules the invaders try to bind her by and she always looks out for the star-watchers.

Cian in turn tries to learn the warrior and trading ways of the invaders. He travels to the copper mining areas and learns the art of trading. He crosses the seas to Europe listening and learning. He learns about the value of gold and why the invaders search Eire for the precious metal. He seeks the knowledge so that his people may one day fight the invaders for their rights.

This book draws on myths and legends from many sources as well as historical evidence handed down through the generations. Very in-depth about star-gazing and ancient mounds and megaliths.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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