Book Review: The Hemlock Cure

Fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.

Joanne Burn ~ The Hemlock Cure


It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.

Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the fact that she studies from Wulfric’s books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril.

And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .


As someone who is fascinated by the plague and the village of Eyam I was really looking forward to this one.

Unfortunately it was a DNF.

I read about 25% but it didn’t grip me and I found it painfully slow and rather dull.

It’s also quite confusing as to who’s speaking and who everyone is. I’m really disappointed because the research was there, but I feel the author focused too much on sharing their knowledge, rather than weaving a compelling story.

A brilliant idea, but poorly executed.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I received an copy from NetGalley. Opinions my own.

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