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Witchy women

Author: Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson is one of my favorite authors—her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, and novels including Written on the Body and Lighthousekeeping are smart, lyrical, challenging, and powerful. 

Winterson has written several novels that invoke Renaissance and 17th-century culture, but The Daylight Gate is her most concrete or linear attempt at historical fiction.  Like Hilary Mantel's celebrated Wolf Hall, The Daylight Gate weaves Renaissance history into a narrative of female strength, persecution, and complexity, but (as is always true of Winterson's postmodern fiction) the novel is much shorter and more imagistic. 

I enjoyed this book but also felt like Winterson could have written it in her sleep—she is such a gifted, deep writer, and the book is fairly straightforward.  It is compelling but not her sharpest or most powerful novel.