Review: The Pendle Curse by Catherine Cavendish

Pendle Curse draft cover artAbout The Pendle Curse

Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.

Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill, and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there.

But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a web of witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.

About the Author

Hello, my name's Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction, frequently reflecting my Gothic influences.

My latest novel - THE PENDLE CURSE - will be published in ebook and paperback by Samhain on February 3rd 2015. I was one of four winners of their first Horror Anthology Competition with my Gothic novella - LINDEN MANOR - which is available now as a standalone ebook and in the anthology - WHAT WAITS IN THE SHADOWS - published on October 7th, 2014.


All are available from Amazon

I live with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Our home is in a building dating back to the mid 18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.

When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can find me on my blog: Facebook: and on Twitter:

My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

I'm kind of on the fence regarding Catherine Cavendish's The Pendle Curse. This is not by any means a bad book, but it was a little too staid, a little too cozy, for my tastes.

The story is told between two narrators, Laura, who exists in the present-day, and James, a witch in the 1600s era of Pendle Hill. Laura has recently lost her husband and is haunted by him, both literally and emotionally. Needing a break from the mysterious haunting, she treks out to Pendle Hill, a site notorious for its history with witchcraft, and which has been appearing to her in her dreams.

As she spends more time in Pendle Hill and becomes familiar with the locals, she becomes aware that something is just not right. Still haunted and torn between a growing passion for the co-owner of the inn she is staying at and her love for her departed husband, she begins to experience even more otherworldly phenomena.

While Laura is a well-drawn character, I found myself more interested in the historical happenings of Pendle. James and his family, a coven a witches themselves, get the most action in the story, from summoning their familiars to faring against the accusations of their neighbors that plunge them into a witch trial. It's good stuff, and Cavendish shines in a few particular spots with some nicely horrific scenes of both the supernatural and more human varieties.

There is a gothic flavor to the proceedings of The Pendle Curse, and the pacing is rather slow and deliberate. It struck me as a bit more of a cozy supernatural read, with a dash of romance, than an out-and-out horror show. But, as a I said it's not a bad read by any means. The characters are strong and kept my attention throughout, and Cavendish does a great job handling the various aspects of witchcraft lore. She also puts a terrific twist on the finale that was both a logical conclusion to what had preceded it, while affirming my suspicions but still managing to surprise with a last-minute flip of the script.

Mostly, I just had a different set of expectations going into the book, my first from Cavendish, and I do prefer my horror to be more firmly geared toward the dark and grisly, rather than the gentler touch Cavendish uses to handle the material. So, I wasn't quite satisfied by the overall story but I certainly don't regret the investment in reading time. I'm giving this one a pretty solid 3-stars (out of 5, per the Goodreads and Amazon metrics) overall.

Buy The Pendle Curse At Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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