The Witch's Brat

by Rosemary Sutcliff
143 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by runningfree

Excellent read, especially one to read out loud. Some violence at the beginning but not terrible.


Sutcliff follows the journey of a deformed, quiet boy with the gift of healing in his hands, a head for herbs and their uses, and a heart of kindness. One shoulder is hunched and his leg is crooked, leaving even the simple matter of walking a painful and arduous task. One day, on his way back from errands, he stops and watches the neighbor's cow who has, over the past three days, been growing extremely thin. Lovel believes the cow ate something that is causing her to lose so much weight and is concerned. The neighbors raise a fuss, saying he's cast the Evil Eye upon their milking cow and Lovel is the reason the cow is sick. The neighbors create such a ruckus that a mob starts and soon stones are thrown at Lovel, driving him out and away into the wide, unknown world.


Despite the cruelty shown Lovel, he never grows bitter or angry or spews hatred. He learns the art of healing the body as well as the heart, for his patients and for himself. He is selfless and kind and gentle, even though people have generally shunned him for most of his life.

Spiritual Content

Lovel lives in a monastery for a few years but there's very little mention of God or any gods for that matter.

There is mention of the Evil Eye, and a suspicion that, supposedly, a spell has been cast.


Angry neighbors throw stones at Lovel, driving him from his village.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None, except for perhaps some wine here or there; alcohol is not abused.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content



Lovel, though he has been beaten by men, still has the capacity to forgive and care for them when they are ailing, old, weak and tired. He heals them, much as he heals himself. He reaches a level of compassion that readers can't help but marvel at and look up to as a role model and hero.

In less than 200 pages, you grow to admire Lovel and his tenacity, watching him grow in confidence as he discovers his gift for healing, and you can't help but cheer him on when he doubts himself and his purpose.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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