Corrag

Corrag

by Susan Fletcher

Baxter Clare Trautman: England. 1690. A woman of the land, a healer, tells her daughter, “Go! North-west. Before the men come!” On a stolen mare the child flees to the Scottish Highlands, a lawless, wild land of rogues and reivers, where maybe Corrag, a “witch” won’t be noticed. For a time she is not. Until the day soldiers come in coats red like blood against the snow. Chained in a cell, near the end of winter, she waits for the spring thaw, where she will meet death by burning. As the dreaded drip-drip of melting snow begins, Corrag tells her tale to an unlikely visitor, an Irish insurrectionist bent on destroying the power of Orange.

Against the tumultuous backdrop of Celtic power and politics, “Corrag” unfolds in a dreamlike foreground of woods, loch, and mountain. Despite her mother’s warning to never love, Corrag is a woman of heart, fiercely in love with snow and sunsets, the wild stag and healing herb, and eventually, the Highland clan that accepts her.

Fletcher spins Corrag’s tale as if casting a spell, binding both Corrag’s listener and the reader with words that rend them helpless to unlisten. In lyric, beguiling prose, Fletcher weaves a tale of courage, transformation, and ultimately, the power of the heart.
Rating: *****

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