Corrag, by Susan Fletcher, is the story of a young woman in Scotland in 1692 who is accused of witchcraft for her supposed involvement in a massacre. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.
The style and plot are different from your typical historical fiction novel. Corrag, the main character, is imprisoned and telling her story to an Irish Reverend who wants to learn more about the massacre for political reasons. Corrag’s first-person narrative is interwoven with letters from the Reverend, Charles, to his wife in Ireland. During Corrag’s narrative she sometimes talks directly to Charles, saying “you”, but we never read an actual dialogue between the two of them. It was an unusual and effective narrative style, combining with Fletcher’s beautiful, lyrical writing to convey a sense of dreaminess and timelessness.
The story did not have a grand, sweeping scale, but instead was almost like a snapshot into two people’s lives. Both characters grow during the novel and through their stories Fletcher addresses themes of love (of places and people), loneliness, friendship, and kindness. The sense of place is also strong during Corrag’s narrative in particular.
Overall, I thought Corrag was a beautiful book and I highly recommend it.