The Last Witch of Scotland by Philip Paris – Book Tour Review

Title: The Last Witch of Scotland

Author: Philip Paris

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Black & White Publishing

Publication Date: 13th April 2023

Rating: 4.5/5



Being a woman was her only crime.

Scottish Highlands, 1727.

In the aftermath of a tragic fire that kills her father, Aila and her mother, Janet, move to the remote parish of Loth, north-west of Inverness. Blending in does not come easily to the women: Aila was badly burned in the fire and left with visible injuries, while her mother struggles to maintain her grip on reality. When a temporary minister is appointed in the area, rather than welcome the two women, he develops a strange curiosity for them that sets them even further apart from the community.

Then arrives a motley troupe of travelling entertainers from Edinburgh, led by the charismatic but mysterious Jack. It is just the distraction Janet, and particularly Aila, needs: for the first time in a long while, their lives are filling with joy and friendship, and a kind of hope Aila hasn’t known since her father’s death. But in this small community, faith is more powerful than truth, and whispers more dangerous even than fire.

Haunting and deeply moving, The Last Witch of Scotland is a story of love, loyalty and sacrifice, inspired by the true story of the last person to be executed for witchcraft in Britain.


I’m a little bit obsessed with the history of witch trials and being Scottish, I am aware of my country’s dark past where accused witches are concerned, so I jumped at the chance to read this fictionalised account of the last woman executed for witchcraft in Scotland, Janet Horne. There is very little actually known about her but Paris has woven an evocative and richly detailed tale of what life could have been like for Janet, and her daughter Aila in 18th century Scotland.

Aila is a character I immediately liked and her relationship with her mother as they face oppression and persecution is the heart of The Last Witch of Scotland. The secondary plot-line of the travelling performing troupe was another intriguing aspect of the story which added some fascinating characters. This is a book that has clearly been thoroughly researched and the historical detail gives it an authenticity that I love in historical fiction. It is also written in an engaging style that makes it immensely readable throughout. The Last Witch of Scotland is a deeply moving, heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful story of the danger of judgement and hate – and the value of love. Highly recommended.


Thank you to Hannah and Black & White Publishing for my spot in the tour and the beautiful hardback. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

Buy the book:

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

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