Reviewed by Teresa G on Apr 10, 2018
Speaks the Nightbird tells the story of a settlement in Colonial North Carolina where, when murder and other terrible crimes occur, a woman is accused of witchcraft. When a magistrate sent to investigate the claims disappears without a trace Magistrate Isaac Woodward and his assistant, Matthew Corbett, are sent to Fount Royal to discover what is going on. An encounter at an inn along the way from Charles Town to Fount Royal almost costs them their lives, but through luck and quick thinking they make it to Fount Royal, naked, but alive.
Magistrate Woodward takes ill and is close to death leaving Matthew to investigate. It is obvious that Fount Royal's founder, Robert Bidwell, wants the matter resolved with the hanging of Rachel Howarth, guilty or not. And, he expects it to be done quickly. Matthew has doubts from the beginning about Rachel's guilt. Uncertain of his own beliefs in the validity of witchcraft, he must try to find both the answers he seeks as well as a way to hold the angry townspeople at bay until the truth is uncovered. As he delves deeper and deeper in the lives of the town's residents he learns some of them are not who they seem and others want to hide things from their past at all costs.
I was thoroughly engaged in this book from the beginning. It is well researched and tells a compelling and interesting story. Plot twists and surprises keep the reader wanting more. The reason I couldn't give it a full five stars is that the ending comes rather abruptly and doesn't feel entirely believable. While the bulk of the book's 726 pages takes place in just a few days with almost every detail along the way being detailed, the resolution to the mystery at the center of the book is handled in several "behind the scenes" events that don't fit in with the detailed account that comes before. Given the personalities of several of the characters the "happily ever after" ending seems contrived.
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