The Secret People by Melusine Draco appealed to me because I read quite a lot of historical fiction, much of it with a magical twist. Books like the Outlander series or Paula Brackstone’s witch series. This is a collection of stories, lore, traditions, recipes, and history of the Celtic people from whom I’m descended. While it touches on witchcraft, it isn’t a book of spells but more a book of age-old advice.
“Theirs was a knowledge that filtered down in the form of spells, domestic plant medicine and country lore, imparted to offspring, friends and neighbours, who in turn handed it down to their children…and so on down through the generations.”
It was fascinating to learn that the same plant could be traditionally used for ailments which seemed quite contradictory, such as low sperm count and syphyllis. I also found the calendar-related chapters to be interesting, as they told of how Saints Days connected to early pagan celebrations and gods. There’s a chapter about what skills and traditions went into poaching animals from the lord’s land.
Written in an historic manner, this is still an easy read that I enjoyed.
Thanks to NetGalley, Moon Books, and John Hunt Publishing for an advance copy in exchange for my feedback.