The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown
We are England in 1645. The witchfinder is Matthew Hopkins, a man scarred and haunted by a painful accident at birth and who carries deeper scars within. The sister is Alice, childless and newly widowed, she must return to Manningtree, and her family home, and seek refuge with her brother. Alice is disturbed by the difference in the town since she left just five years before. Now, there is distrust, suspicion and death.
Matthew is a hunter of witches, sanctioned by the laws and the men who look to scripture for validation. Now, no one is safe and Alice defies her brother and the whisperings of others to find the reason for his visciousness. But no one is safe from him, not even herself.
What makes this all the more soul wrenching is that Matthew Hopkins, witch finder, was a historical person and historically, these witch hunts were carried out before Salem. It’s our knowing the future that makes this richly historical story the scariest.