Witch Water by Edward Lee (Book Review)
Plot: Welcome to Haver-Towne. The sedate colonial resort is the perfect place where Stew Fanshawe can get away from it all for a while. But instead of finding tranquility and self-reflection, Stew finds something much more unique: a town that was once steeped in a quagmire of witchcraft, satanic debauchery, and centuries-old occult science. Indeed, Haver-Towne has a most colorful history.
My Review: I was asked to give this a read and review it for the site and was happy to do so as I’ve heard many good things about the author. I don’t tend to seek out long drawn out reviews about books before I read them, in fact, it wasn’t even until recent that I started to read reviews for books at all. Anyhow, I glanced at a couple of the first reviews listed on GoodReads and the consensus wasn’t all that great. There was much applause for the author, just not this particular book. Probably not the best idea to read this one as a first impression. But too late now.
The book is about a very wealthy business man (Fanshawe), who goes to Haver-Towne on “vacation”. His therapist
suggests he get out of town for a few months to avoid relapsing on his addiction. He’s a peeping tom. One that’s been caught in the act. The whole beginning of the book involves him wondering around this new town, talking to some locals and trying hard not to peep on women.
Fanshawe quickly discovers that the inn he’s staying at and the town itself has many ties to the occult. In fact, its known as the Salem of New Hampshire, since they too had famous witch trials. The most well known of the warlocks and witches was a father and daughter duo, Jacob and Evanore Wraxall. They were heavily involved in the occult. So much so, that they were lovers who had numerous children together for the sake of witchcraft. To bare children and then murder them for use in spells. The inn contains many of their artifacts as it was once their home. One of the artifacts is a looking glass filled with “witch water”. What is witch water? It is water that has been boiled with the bones of a dead witch in it. What effect does the water have on the looking glass? If certain people look through it after midnight they can see the past. Fanshawe spends his days exploring the town, the evenings with the inns daughter, and his nights off looking through the glass “peeping” on the past. He becomes obsessed with witchcraft and everything he sees through the looking glass and soon he finds himself actually IN the past.
I honestly don’t remember much for gore. There were not details of killing babies or anything like that, but it was mentioned that they were killed and used in spells. There was a gruesome way that witches were killed, and there also was 1-2 rape scenes in the book. Now, I’m not condoning rape, but the scene with the explicit rape was rather humorous to me, because it involved witchcraft and was just done in an odd way I guess you could say. If you’ve read the book I’m sure you know what I’m getting at.
I found that while the book was a quick read, it was rather boring and by the end it felt like the author rushed to finish it so it was a tad confusing and sloppy. I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. In fact, the inn keepers daughter completely changes into someone else by the time the book is over. In the end I felt almost like there was no real plot or point to the book.
Overall: I do enjoy some aspects of witchcraft, I sometimes even visit Salam, Ma for their Haunted Happenings festivities, and I have wanted to read an Edward Lee book since hearing about him a few months back. But I just honestly didn’t enjoy this book and I didn’t care for the randomness of some of the scenes towards the end mainly. I did enjoy the “horror” portion to it, so I will definitely check out the authors other books. But I won’t be reading this one again, or recommending it.