Stranger than fiction may be a cliché, but it is one that succinctly describes many of my favorite non-fiction works. No book embodies this more than Angela Bourke’s The Burning of Bridget Cleary. This true story, set in 1895, is often referred to as Ireland’s last case of witch burning, but the reality of Bridget Cleary’s horrific murder was more complex. Believed by her husband and a group of extended family members to be a changeling – a sickly double or imposter left by the fairies in place of the real Bridget – the young dressmaker was burned to death in the hearth of her own cottage in an effort to release her from her captors and destroy the evil spirit that had taken her place. Bourke describes the crime and those whose lives were altered by it with vividness and compassion, and the story is both sad and fascinating, exploring as it does the explosive mixture of traditional folk beliefs, gender roles, and the societal changes of late nineteenth-century Ireland that combined to bring about such a tragic occurrence.