I post book reviews as often as possible but at least once a week every Wednesday! I hope they help you to find some new books that you'll love as much as I did!
In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all . . .
Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn't supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.
Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.
As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?
Soon the two women's lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood's stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.
Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
Upon opening the very first page, I was immediately transported back to the 17th century and straight to the Lancashire countryside. Halls sets the scene wonderfully and she drew me straight into the storyline so that I found myself engrossed in reading for a good few hours before bed and then straight away again the next day on the train!
I found the writing to be atmospheric and of course I can’t discuss this book without talking about the absolutely beautiful cover, it’s so stunning!
I really enjoyed the plot and how it developed over the course of the book. I also liked how the author brought some real life names from the Pendle Witch trials into the story. I would’ve loved for there to be more in the book about the trials as I’m very interested in that period of history, but there was still plenty here to read about and Fleetwood made for an interesting and engaging narrator.
Overall I’m giving The Familiars 4 out of 5. It’s atmospheric, well-written and a very enjoyable debut.
This book was provided for free in exchange for an honest review
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About the Author
Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She has always been fascinated by the Pendle witches. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21. She was media editor at the Bookseller and books editor at Stylist.co.uk, and has also written for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine, where she now works as Deputy Chief Sub Editor. The Familiars is her first novel.
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