Title: The Familiars
Author: Stacey Halls
Publisher: Mira Books
Page Count: 344
Publication Date: 2019
Category/Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Witches, Gothic
Good Reads Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.89)
My Rating: ★★★★☆(3.8)
Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.
Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.
I bet you are not afraid of anything’, I said.
‘Of course I am,’ she said, and she pulled at a loose thread in her apron. ‘I am afraid of lies.’-”
I FINALLY got around to reading The Familiars by Stacey Halls. It had been in my ever growing TBR pile and somehow kept getting pushed to the bottom. But thankfully, no more! I loved and devoured it…
The novel is based on true events, Pendle Hill Witch Trials of the 1600s, and most of the characters did exist, although it was the Author’s imagination that directed their actions.
It isn’t just about the witches being hunted down and (lack of) unbiased trial. Its so much deeper, covering devotion, love, motherhood, history. At the center of it all is a story about two women’s amazing fight and friendship story against all ignorance, superstition, judgmental and biased minds!
The story is so well crafted, detailed and well written.