Bingo Square: History
In 2019, Kate flees an abusive relationship, seeking refuge in Weyward Cottage, a home left to her by a great aunt she had barely known. In 1942, Violet is trapped in her family’s crumbling stately home, unable to lead the life in nature and learning that she dreams of, instead having to conform to the ways of the day. She longs to learn more about her mother and what happened to her, but the only clue is a necklace with a W. In 1619, Altha is awaiting trial, accused of using witchcraft to kill a neighbouring farmer.
The book goes back and forth between the three women and their timelines, filling in the picture of what happened to them, and also how they’re connected. There’s a lot of mistreatment of women, and it’s grim in the past as you’d expect – women looked at suspiciously for being even a tiny bit different, being abused, being forced into marriages they didn’t want etc – but also in the present day with Kate and her abusive partner. So it’s not easy reading. It’s also difficult at times with going back and forth, if you’re really absorbed in one time period, and then you’re kicked out of it to read about someone else. There were times I didn’t want to be reading about them. Violet especially was a tricky one for me in her earlier chapters. But it is clever how each part of the story plays out in a way that gives you more information for the other women. And I did very much enjoy how it all came together in the end, with hope and fulfilment for all of them. It’s not bleak in that way. Overall a very immersive read I enjoyed.