The Burning of Isobel Key

Title: The Burning of Isobel Key
Author: Jen McConnel
Kindle edition, 286 pages
Published Sept. 2012

Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Ever since college, she’s lacked direction, working as a clerk in a local bookstore. But when she quits her job just before the winter holidays, Lou must do some serious soul searching to overcome her fears of straying from the mainstream. On a whim, she accompanies her best friend, Tammy, to Scotland for the winter holidays, but the vacation soon turns into an emotional roller coaster.
When she becomes embroiled in a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman falsely accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century, Lou opens up to her intuition and makes a startling discovery about her own heritage.

Enter the world of the past and bring on the memories to the present.

It’s almost the holidays, and Louisa found herself jobless after she decided to quit her job in a bookstore. Her bestfriend, Tammy, however, seemed to have gotten all the luck in the world. Soon, when Tammy asked Louisa to go with her on a business trip to Scotland, she was happy to accompany her without telling her bestfriend her predicaments. And soon her quest for her spiritual self unfolded.

The beautiful and enticing country of Scotland served as a backdrop to this enchanting tale of two equally brave women who might be related to each other even though they are centuries apart.

In the 1600s, Isobel Key was accused of witchcraft after her sister mysteriously died of childbirth in the hands of a physician. Incidentally, her brother-in-law was also killed that night by the attending physician but it was Isabel who was blamed. Following this, she was burned at the stake and her bones were laid on a railroad crossing, preventing her to rest in peace.

Present time, Louisa is having a hard time seeking peace of mind. During her trip in Scotland, she met a handsome tour guide who seemed to like her bestfriend, Tammy. Afraid that she might just be on the road to nowhere, she devoted her time searching for answers about witches and burning rituals that happened many centuries past. Soon her interest was peaked when she learned about Isobel Key. The burning desire to discover what really happened that fateful night was what drove Louisa to go to castles and libraries, in the hopes of finding the answers to her questions.

This book is definitely one of the best I’ve read which involved witchcraft /Wiccans which have always intrigued me. Honestly, the first time I heard about this, it instantly reminded me of this one episode on Smallville where Lana Lang was possessed by the witch Isobel Thoreaux who died when the village people burned her on a pole. I thought the book has something to do with that episode. But after reading the first few chapters, it was a completely different story and I like this book much better.

Cheers to author Jen McConnel for a successful debut. She  delivered her characters very well and she has crafted a story that was very engaging and in-depth. I can declare that I am now one of her fans. I look forward to reading the Key Inheritance soon.

For my review rating, I’m giving The Burning of Isobel Key – 4 bookmarks! 🙂

About this Author


jenmcconelJen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. She’s a graduate of Western Michigan University, and she also earned her MS in Library Science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

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2 thoughts on “The Burning of Isobel Key

  1. Intriguing story.The witch in the story reminded me of the witch in Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.Many men and women were killed in the past because they were accused of being witch. The truth of it is that many of those who executed were just enemies of the witch hunters or outcasts in the community.

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