Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

Anna is starting a new school in a new country, hoping her past will stay where it belongs. But it’s not always that simple, so what happens when everything comes crashing down for the second time?

The Burning tells the much needed tale of how badly teen girls get treated, way too frequently and unnecessarily, how school isn’t always the best time of your life and just how fast rumors can spread – much like a fire. This book switches between present day in a fishing village in Scotland, and the 17th century when women accused of witchcraft would be burned or drowned.

I was extremely invested in this entire book, but the parts I was particularly fond of was the friendships Anna makes, aswell as the information on witchcraft that was beautifully placed throughout due to Anna researching the local area for a history project. I found it all really interesting, it’s horrifying what happened to so many women, and when I get the chance I’ll definitely be looking into it myself.

“Seventy-five per cent of those tried and killed for the crime of witchcraft were women. Execution rated were highest (90 per cent of those accused) in local courts, where the powerful men of a village could become judge and jury in a biased investigation closely tied to ideas of morality and influenced by local clergy.”

I felt so bad for Anna, I wish I could’ve placed myself inside the pages to befriend her and let her know that things will turn out alright. What happened to her is something that actually happens in real life and it’s heartbreaking that that’s the case.

I also want to mention that a character’s mum has Multiple Sclerosis and I’ve only read one other book that’s included that (The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan, would recommend) so bonus points for that.

I read The Burning in one sitting, it is that much of an important story. I only put it down for a very brief snack and try-to-keep-your-emotions-together break! If you can only read one book in the near future I suggest it be this one, I’m so glad a book with this content exists – my only disappointment is that I couldn’t have read it several years ago.

We are the granddaughters of the witches you burned. And we’re not putting up with it any more.”

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