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Hiding from the Light [Paperback]

Barbara Erskine
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I have been a fan of this author ever since I read her wonderful bestselling book, "Lady of Hay". So, I looked forward to reading this, her latest book, which has supernatural portents and characters from another place and time.

In this book, the mid-seventeenth century and the present converge. Ghosts from the time of Oliver Cromwell, when Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, unjustly persecuted women in some rural communities in North Essex for being witches, are stirring. With Halloween on the horizon, it is only a matter of time before they make their presence felt.

Emma Dickinson, a high-powered business executive finds herself inexorably drawn to a quaint cottage in a rural community in North Essex, where, as a child, she had spent some time. Leaving behind her lover and significant other, she buys her dream cottage, which long ago belonged to a herbalist named Liza who met her end at the hands of the Witchfinder General. When Emma moves into the cottage, she begins having a series of nightmares of a past that she cannot bear to remember.

Unbeknownst to her, Mike Sinclair, the handsome new rector of her parish, likewise finds himself consumed by images of the past. A voice in his head interjects concepts and feelings that are alien to Mike. He is at a loss to explain what is happening and does not know that he is barreling towards a climax that will be decisive in determining whether the forces of evil or good will prevail.

The author, a master storyteller, weaves a tale that is engaging, but the quality of the writing, however, is uneven, and some of the characters are not fully-fleshed. Moreover, the book could have benefited from some better editing. Nonetheless, while the book falls somewhat short of the standards that this author herself has set, it is still a moderately entertaining book that fans of the author will, in some measure, enjoy.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A little boring, a little stereotypical Aug. 24 2005
By Spider
Format:Paperback
Hiding From the Light is the first book of Erskine's that I have read and it may very well be the last. The description on the back of the book sounded interesting so I was looking forward to it, but it disappointed. The characters are one dimensional and none of them are particularly evoking of sympathy. Instead of proving any sort of point that people should be accepted for being different (a bit PC, I grant), this novel instead fulfills all the fears of that people have toward Wiccans. While I understand that Erskine was trying to display history repeating itself in modern day witch scares, the characters respond to each other with maddening foolishness and it seems to take forever to get anywhere with the story. The fact that the author displays women as totally stupid and weak willed (Emma, Paula) or foolhardy and blinded by self righteousness (Lyndsey, Sarah, Judith) and all in need of saving by religious men (Mike, Bill) left a bad taste in my mouth to say the least. That both Sarah and Liz (in addition to Lyndsey in modern day) betray their own ideals in order to avenge themselves on men simply confirmed the fears they were unjustly accused of originally! Other characters are introduced but have no bearing to the story, so I am not sure why they are there at all (Emma's mom and stepdad, friend Flora, even ex-lover Piers, really) And if a writer is going to fill 540 pages, at least have something more interesting happen than Emma whining about her lost love (who it sounds like she is much better off without), please. Some romance, real scares, and believable characters would have helped.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You will believe in ghosts .... June 23 2004
Format:Hardcover
... and possession and witches if you read this book.
I've been a huge Barbara Erskine fan since reading Lady of Hay. Unfortunately this book (at least the regular-size type edition) has not been released for sale in the United States yet. Fortunately I was able to order it through Amazon.uk.
This is a long, virtual door-stopper size book - at just over 540 pages, this hardcover is a hefty read. Though there were a few spots where it did lag a tiny bit, the plot was well done and the action continued to move at a brisk pace keeping my interest through the entire book.
Emma Dickson is a successful business woman living in London with her fiancé Piers. During a visit to her dentist, she leafs through a magazine and sees a cottage for sale on the Essex coast. It's a house she remembers from her childhood summers in the country. She immediately senses that she must buy the house. Piers wants nothing to do with it. He loves their life in London and flatly refuses to even look at the cottage. Emma goes out to the country herself, falls immediately in love with the house, and puts in an offer for it. She buys it against the wishes of her fiancé, quits her job, and leaves Piers behind in the city. ...the excitement is just about to begin for Emma.
The cottage Emma bought is haunted, as is the local shop, by long-dead spirits who were once in a heated battle - one was a witch (the ghost in Emma's cottage) prosecuted by the Witch Finder General Matthew Hopkins (the ghost in the local shop). The spirits of these people begin a war against each other using the living players in the tiny village, pitting one against the other. Slowly a tide of evil builds in the town. Senseless crimes are committed. Life in the village is thrown out of balance.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will believe in ghosts .... June 23 2004
By Mary Chrapliwy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
... and possession and witches if you read this book.
I've been a huge Barbara Erskine fan since reading Lady of Hay. Unfortunately this book (at least the regular-size type edition) has not been released for sale in the United States yet. Fortunately I was able to order it through Amazon.uk.
This is a long, virtual door-stopper size book - at just over 540 pages, this hardcover is a hefty read. Though there were a few spots where it did lag a tiny bit, the plot was well done and the action continued to move at a brisk pace keeping my interest through the entire book.
Emma Dickson is a successful business woman living in London with her fiancé Piers. During a visit to her dentist, she leafs through a magazine and sees a cottage for sale on the Essex coast. It's a house she remembers from her childhood summers in the country. She immediately senses that she must buy the house. Piers wants nothing to do with it. He loves their life in London and flatly refuses to even look at the cottage. Emma goes out to the country herself, falls immediately in love with the house, and puts in an offer for it. She buys it against the wishes of her fiancé, quits her job, and leaves Piers behind in the city. ...the excitement is just about to begin for Emma.
The cottage Emma bought is haunted, as is the local shop, by long-dead spirits who were once in a heated battle - one was a witch (the ghost in Emma's cottage) prosecuted by the Witch Finder General Matthew Hopkins (the ghost in the local shop). The spirits of these people begin a war against each other using the living players in the tiny village, pitting one against the other. Slowly a tide of evil builds in the town. Senseless crimes are committed. Life in the village is thrown out of balance. To restore the balance the age-old battle between warring spirits needs to end.
I don't want to spoil the story by telling any more of this tale. Suffice it to say, this is a very well written ghost story. You will believe in ghosts when you read it. The tales of the persecuted witches is thoroughly engrossing, the glimpses into the past are seamless, and the ending is so well crafted that you will believe it could all so easily happen. This was a highly enjoyable read and is a keeper of the best kind.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GHOSTIES AND BEASTIES AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT... March 6 2006
By Lawyeraau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of this author ever since I read her wonderful bestselling book, "Lady of Hay". So, I looked forward to reading this, her latest book, which has supernatural portents and characters from another place and time.

In this book, the mid-seventeenth century and the present converge. Ghosts from the time of Oliver Cromwell, when Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, unjustly persecuted women in some rural communities in North Essex for being witches, are stirring. With Halloween on the horizon, it is only a matter of time before they make their presence felt.

Emma Dickinson, a high-powered business executive finds herself inexorably drawn to a quaint cottage in a rural community in North Essex, where, as a child, she had spent some time. Leaving behind her lover and significant other, she buys her dream cottage, which long ago belonged to a herbalist named Liza who met her end at the hands of the Witchfinder General. When Emma moves into the cottage, she begins having a series of nightmares of a past that she cannot bear to remember.

Unbeknownst to her, Mike Sinclair, the handsome new rector of her parish, likewise finds himself consumed by images of the past. A voice in his head interjects concepts and feelings that are alien to Mike. He is at a loss to explain what is happening and does not know that he is barreling towards a climax that will be decisive in determining whether the forces of evil or good will prevail.

The author, a master storyteller, weaves a tale that is engaging, but the quality of the writing, however, is uneven, and some of the characters are not fully-fleshed. Moreover, the book could have benefited from some better editing. Nonetheless, while the book falls somewhat short of the standards that this author herself has set, it is still a moderately entertaining book that fans of the author will, in some measure, enjoy.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Mysterious! Feb. 27 2004
By Karyn Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just finished reading this book. I've always been a fan of Barbara Erskine and this book lives up to her usual standards. It's a great read in the dark and the place she sets the book gives off a wonderful atmosphere, evoking witches and the Ward, a sort of pre-medieval protector of the village. The ending is quite suprising. My only complaint would be that we never find out where Hopkins is buried, or what actually happened to him. Sorry, I've gone and blown the book now haven't I?
A great read and one I would recommend.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, there are ghosties and beasties and things that go bump in the night! Oct. 14 2006
By Misfit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What fun! Safe to read at home, but if I was staying at a hotel/home/building that was reputed to be haunted, I'd save this one for later. It took a good couple of hundred pages to set the scenes and the characters, but then things took off and I couldn't put the book down. In some ways I can see cutting some of those characters and still keep the main story, but I loved the whole book anyway.

Don't let the page count deter you, the paperback was 700+ but with so many short chapters, leaving half pages blank leading into the next chapter, it was a very quick, albeit enjoyable read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are you a good witch, or..... Nov. 1 2008
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For reasons that are not entirely clear to her, Emma feels compelled to purchase a little cottage she remembers, in the village where her family used to summer. In the process, she leaves behind her "high flying" London career and her posh fiance. Emma devotes herself to fixing the house up, becoming accustomed to life on her own, and introducing herself to her rural community. She loves her new home, but something seems seriously amiss. Terrifying nightmares, strange goings on in the abandoned churchyard, apparitions, voices in her head, weird weather - but Emma will not be frightened off. As summer turns to fall, she becomes deeply embroiled in a perilous paranormal situation, one that can only end in disaster if she cannot stand and fight.

Hiding from the Light involves two sets of characters from two centuries, the mystery centering upon the witch hunt prosecuted by the infamous Matthew Hopkins. In parts, the writing descends into melodrama, and some of the characters are laughably hackneyed, but the bones of the story are good, with some sections quite effective. Recommended to readers who enjoy spooky but not overly gory tales of hauntings.

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