Yes, Mistress Patience Gideon is a witch, but more than that, she is a woman with a woman’s life and cares. And loves.
Mistress Gideon loves her adopted daughter, Gilly (who refers to her as Aunt Patience), and she loves her dog, Fenric (who is more than he seems, though even he doesn’t know it). And Mistress Gideon has loved in her past, though she tries not to think about love lost.
Magic takes different forms in Mistress Gideon’s world but it’s nothing we haven’t met before. Mistress Gideon is a healer. She gathers what she needs from lake and forest and soil, and does her best by the people in her small town. They all – almost all – have come to her for what ails them, be it broken bones, illness, infertility, or simply advice.
None of the people would admit it, of course, because the Church Elders burn witches. Along with their associates.
Of Sorrow and Such is a short book, read in a few hours, but it’s one that lingers in the mind long after. It may be about a witch in a small town, about a woman with a mind of her own, but Mistress Gideon stands for all who have ever been persecuted because of who they are, what they do, or what they believe in. This book takes place in what could be New England in the late 1600s, and yes, there is magic in it — but Of Sorrow and Such is actually about times and places throughout human history.