Double, double, toil and trouble….

Canadian author Sherri Smith’s second novel takes a different turn than her first offering The Virgin’s Tale. Instead of Roman deities and vestal virgins, this time around it’s witchcraft and witch hunts!

The Children of Witches is a work of historical fiction inspired by the real-life witch hunts that took place in Esslingen, south-west Germany in the 1600’s. Over 200 people were accused of witchcraft and at least 37 were executed!

Married to a drunken tavern-keeper, Anna Wirth takes comfort in her two sons, hardworking Konrad and the beautiful, flaxen-haired Manfred, who sings like an angel and who, some say, has been touched by God. But at the same time, Anna is desperate to prevent people finding out the truth about her younger son. He is not like other children: he does not communicate, doesn’t make eye contact, lives in his own private world, obsessed with collecting and arranging piles of leaves and stones. When rumours of witchcraft sweep through the town, Manfred is seized by those who would use him to pursue their own agenda. As innocent townsfolk are accused, a climate of fear prevails. No one is safe–and at the centre of the terror is Anna’s own son. As the death toll mounts, Anna realizes there is only one way to stop the madness. But can she act against a mother’s deepest instincts?

Sherri Smith teaches at a school for children with special needs which is evident in the sensitive and realistic portrayal of the heroine’s autistic son.

If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory, Sarah Waters or Sandra Gulland then this is one book you won’t want to miss out on! Available in stores June 22nd.

To win a copy of Children of Witches, just email your name and contact info to anneliese.grosfeld@simonandschuster.ca with the subject line “Witches”. Contest expires  June 30, 2010. *Canadian addresses only please.*