The Familiars
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.

The Familiars Details

TitleThe Familiars
Author
ReleaseFeb 19th, 2019
PublisherMIRA
ISBN-139780778369189
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Paranormal, Witches

The Familiars Review

  • Amalia Gavea
    January 1, 1970
    ‘’Justice means fairness. Luck of prejudice.’’ I’ve always loved Pendle Hill and the stories of the women who were accused of witchcraft during one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe. The fascinating legends found a perfect home in Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, a novel full of darkness, raw beauty and folklore. Stacey Hall’s The Familiars is not as vicious as Winterson’s masterpiece but it is no less poignant, atmospheric and an absolutely beautiful novel, fully doing jus ‘’Justice means fairness. Luck of prejudice.’’ I’ve always loved Pendle Hill and the stories of the women who were accused of witchcraft during one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe. The fascinating legends found a perfect home in Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, a novel full of darkness, raw beauty and folklore. Stacey Hall’s The Familiars is not as vicious as Winterson’s masterpiece but it is no less poignant, atmospheric and an absolutely beautiful novel, fully doing justice to its dark themes of prejudice, injustice and sheer violence against women. Sadly, these are issues that have not been extinguished in our world. Centuries later we face the same dangers, albeit wrapped in a different, more ‘’civilized’’ package.Pendle Hill and Malkin Tower are in the centre of attention in Fleetwood’ household. She is the young wife of a noble house, her mission to produce an heir - a male heir, let us not forget - and things have not been going well. Fleetwood is with child, one more chance to do her ‘’duty’’. Her fortune brings her to Alive, an eerie girl who seems to know nature and its gifts as well as an experienced wise woman. Or as well as a witch...The witch hunt is in full swing under the reign of King James and Fleetwood has to face her husband’s wrongdoings, her fear for her pregnancy and the injustice against women who know Nature better than anyone. ‘’I wouldn’t wish a girl’s life on anyone.’’ The Familiars are the spirits in objects and animals that act as replicas of the so-called ‘’witches’’. This belief lends the name to the title of this beautiful book that seems to be perfect. Indeed, I couldn’t find a single feature that would have made me reconsider my rating. The technical elements are brilliantly composed. The era, the dialogue, the atmosphere of terror, of suspicion and prejudice will captivate your heart from the first chapters. This novel is an example of how a writer can create female protagonists that do not resemble any stereotype but are fully imagined and brought to life so realistically that the readers feel as if they’re watching actual people of flesh and blood fighting for the right to have a voice. This is why I won’t tire you over technicalities. What I feel the need to focus on is the exquisite treatment of the themes that make this novel such a beautiful and frightening experience.The main theme reflected in the use of the witch-hunt era as the setting is the position of women in a society that seems to take an almost orgasmic satisfaction in supporting every possible prejudice against them. Men practice infidelity because it is their ‘’right’’. Women are not even allowed to choose their own midwife. Pregnancy becomes an obligation. Something you must do because society tells you to. And if you don’t want children of your own, everyone will look at you at best with apprehension and at worst with disgust. I am using the Present tense intentionally because things haven’t changed much. Not as long as the Trumps of the world tell us what to do with our bodies and our own choices. Religion and politics have always lent themselves as culprits of irrational actions, dogmas have long been used as pretexts for absolute control over the fates of women. Take the ridiculous Daemonologie, written by King James, as an example. One of the most incompetent, ludicrous monarchs of Europe that led dozens of women to their death.There are men encouraged to feel superior by oppressing women because they feared their intelligence and independence. Women bow to an absurd will and condemn other women because they are influenced by uneducated priests and are envious of the women who live their lives according to their rules without needing a man and a surname to sustain them or verify their existence. These issues are still relevant to our world. Many men cannot recognize women’s right to equality. Many women still need a man to verify their worth. Flushing out certain parts of our anatomy on Instagram, projecting ourselves as objects does not help. This is not emancipation. It is outright prostitution. Let us not fear the words and speak clearly.What can be better than a Historical Fiction novel that prompts you to think of how universal and relevant certain issues are, how vital in our daily experience. This novel by Stacey Halls is like a heavy storm that has been brewing for hours. Like the grey sky over Pendle Hill. Like the fragile hope that comes with the arrival of a child in the world… ‘’Do we not have eyes and ears like our husbands, and the men who will condemn them?’’ Many thanks to MIRA and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...
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  • Mackey
    January 1, 1970
    There are times when I get absolutely giddy over a book that I’ve just finished, so much so that I start babbling to my neighbors, call up family members, talk about it to strangers in stores despite their strange looks as though I’ve lost my mind. That is exactly what I have found myself doing with Stacey Halls new book, The Familiars.Are you familiar with familiars? Yes, I know. I’m part Scottish so these things are embedded into my DNA but for many, I now realize, they are not. A familiar is There are times when I get absolutely giddy over a book that I’ve just finished, so much so that I start babbling to my neighbors, call up family members, talk about it to strangers in stores despite their strange looks as though I’ve lost my mind. That is exactly what I have found myself doing with Stacey Halls new book, The Familiars.Are you familiar with familiars? Yes, I know. I’m part Scottish so these things are embedded into my DNA but for many, I now realize, they are not. A familiar is an animal that is close to a witch who does certain things for the witch. They can act as protectors, spies, a type of servant or, most often, a close companion. If you see one, you most often will see the other because they rarely are separated.Fleetwood Shuttleworth is the 17 years old mistress at Gawthorpe Hall. The year is 1612, and she pregnant for the fourth time. The problem, however, is that she has yet to bring a child to term, something both she and her husband are concerned about, each for very different reasons. By chance, Fleetwood encounters a woman in the forest on her property. This woman, Alice Gray, claims to be a midwife and promises Fleetwood that she can help her give birth to a healthy child. They agree on terms and Alice is brought into Gawthorpe Hall where Fleetwood almost at once begins to feel better. There are problems, however. King James, as we all should know, is on a witch hunt and his minions who wish to stay in his favor will do whatever necessary to stay in the king’s good graces, including accusing innocent women of witchcraft. Fleetwood has the misfortune of living near Pendle Hill and one of her husband’s dearest friends and benefactor’s is just the sort of man to gather up innocents to appease the king – and that is exactly what he does – including Alice Gray.I live in a town named Pendleton settled by men originally from Pendle Hill. We actually have a place called Pendle Hill in our tiny town so I have a strange, slightly bizarre fascination with the Pendle witches of Lancashire. When I first read about The Familiars, I was led to believe that it was a witch story and somewhat cutesy. That is far from the truth. This is a story of the women in the surrounding village who eventually were charged with murder and witchcraft at Pendle Hill, specifically, Alice Gray. It is the story of Alice’s friendship with Fleetwood and the extreme measures that Fleetwood took in order to save her friend. It is a beautifully told story of women, devotion, love, motherhood, history and so much more but it is very much rooted in historically accurate research. At the heart of the tale is Fleetwood and her desire to bring her child into the world safely and alive. In order to do so, she truly believes she must have Alice by her side. It isn’t about magic or witchcraft, it is about herbs and knowledge passed down from one generation of women to the next. As we learn, these women were being rounded up far too often because of men who merely wanted them gone for reasons of cheating, anger, because the women were more knowledgeable, not unlike what is happening today when intelligent women are mocked in the public arena. They were also being hanged because their religion no longer aligned with that of King James. Then, as now, religion was a source of war. Isn’t it amazing how absolutely nothing has changed after all of this time? How we have learned nothing from the past?I absolutely loved the transformation of Fleetwood from silly, frivolous socialite to the mature woman willing to fight for her child and her friend. Women will do that when they have the right influences to guide them and it was beautiful to see how Alice, so quiet and unassuming, could give the much needed confidence to Fleetwood, not with magic but through friendship and care. In the end, this is a novel of historical fiction and it stays true to the story. Twelve women were charged with witchcraft, some were hanged, one landed in stocks for a fortnight and one is released. This is a wonderful imagining of their story, one that I highly recommend!Thank you to #Netgalley, #Harlequin-Mira and #StacyHalls for my advanced copy of #TheFamiliars.
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  • Whispering Stories
    January 1, 1970
    Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.comThe Year 1612, Pendle, Lancashire. Seventeen-Year-Old Fleetwood Shuttleworth has been married for four years and in that time she has been pregnant three times too, losing each child before their birth dates. Fleetwood is once again pregnant and hoping to make it to full term with her child so she can give her husband an heir to carry on the Shuttleworth name. Unfortunately, she comes across a letter from the local physician which was written a Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.comThe Year 1612, Pendle, Lancashire. Seventeen-Year-Old Fleetwood Shuttleworth has been married for four years and in that time she has been pregnant three times too, losing each child before their birth dates. Fleetwood is once again pregnant and hoping to make it to full term with her child so she can give her husband an heir to carry on the Shuttleworth name. Unfortunately, she comes across a letter from the local physician which was written after she lost her third child which states that if she would be to fall pregnant again it is unlikely that she will survive.Fleetwood is distressed by the letter and wants to confront her husband about it but doesn’t know how. She decides to go a different route and hire a local woman to be her midwife, a woman that knows all about potions and herbs and promises to deliver a healthy baby – Alice Grey.There is talk amongst the local people of witches in the area and her new midwife is soon finding her name bought into the accusations of witchcraft. Fleetwood is sure Alice is innocent and with the trial looming close and if found guilty Alice will be hung, Fleetwood will do anything to save her new friend, even going against her husband for the young woman.The Familiars is a historical novel set in the era when people who were a little different were accused of being witches and killed, not only in the UK but across the world too. One of the most famous and best-recorded witch trials in the UK was in Pendle, Lancashire, now dubbed the home of the ‘Pendle Witches’, where twelve people went on trial and ten found guilty.Ms. Halls has weaved her superior tale around the events from 1612 and brought into her fictional novel some famous names from the trials, including Alizon Device and Alice Grey. The Shuttleworth family are also a well-known real family from the area too.Fleetwood although only seventeen has been through some hard times. Not only is it illegal to get married at the age she did these days, but you just couldn’t comprehend a young girl of seventeen having been married for four years and not only being pregnant four times but losing three of her children before birth too. I found her character although a little weak minded at times, yet she was intriguing and I enjoyed watching her evolve as the plot progressed.Whilst the book is set during the Pendle Witch trials, for my liking, there wasn’t enough about them in the book, mainly because I love a good book featuring witches and this is what made me choose to read the story in the first place. What information there is, is historically accurate and you can tell that the author has a keen interest in the past and has done lots of research.Overall the book left me satisfied and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It left me feeling enthralled with parts and spellbound by others. The pace felt a little slow to at times but in my personal opinion slowness works in historical fiction as it allows you to really grasp the past and understand it. The pace does pick up as you near the end.This is a book that I feel is going to be a bit like Marmite in that if you have an interest in historical fiction or indeed the witch trials or Pendle, you will love it. If you have no interest in these subject then I can’t see it being of interest to you.
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  • Miriam Smith
    January 1, 1970
    "The Familiars" written by Stacey Halls is a story based on a true historical timeline and real life people, namely Fleetwood Shuttleworth born in 1595, who was a woman of gentry and mistress at Gawthorpe Hall. It is a work of fiction based on the premise of the Pendle witch trial in Lancaster 1612 and sadly highlights the plight of women disproportionately targeted as part of witch hunts during the time period set. I'm generally not drawn to the 1600's as a story setting but I do have to admit "The Familiars" written by Stacey Halls is a story based on a true historical timeline and real life people, namely Fleetwood Shuttleworth born in 1595, who was a woman of gentry and mistress at Gawthorpe Hall. It is a work of fiction based on the premise of the Pendle witch trial in Lancaster 1612 and sadly highlights the plight of women disproportionately targeted as part of witch hunts during the time period set. I'm generally not drawn to the 1600's as a story setting but I do have to admit that the inclusion of witches and the infamous trial did spark my curiosity as I've always been intrigued by witchcraft. I did overall enjoy the story, if a little lightweight, and I would have possibly enjoyed reading some chapters from Alice's point of view as she stood accused but generally the slow pace and atmospheric setting did provide a feeling of being transported to the setting of the story. The ordeals and suspicions that fell upon women who were probably no more than 'wise women' who used nature to help cure ails and treat pregnant ladies was very sad to read and the author covered these tragic events professionally. With a truly gorgeously printed hardback cover to the book, this is worth every penny to adorn any bookshelf and I would happily recommend, it is slow but engaging, well written which leaves you asking 'was she or wasn't she?' and I wish the author every success with this sure bestseller for 2019.4 stars
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  • Umut Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    It started well and exciting, but didn't follow through with a solid story and plot. So, it's not for me.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Solid historical fiction for readers of Jane Harris and especially Martine Bailey. The language – especially the dialogue, even when trying to be relatable and/or coy – didn’t always strike me as right for the time period (e.g. “Hot and bothered, I went downstairs” and “They burn witches, don’t they?”). In any case, it’s a more accessible take on the Pendle witches history than Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, with the added interest of a look at a young woman’s real life – four pregnanci Solid historical fiction for readers of Jane Harris and especially Martine Bailey. The language – especially the dialogue, even when trying to be relatable and/or coy – didn’t always strike me as right for the time period (e.g. “Hot and bothered, I went downstairs” and “They burn witches, don’t they?”). In any case, it’s a more accessible take on the Pendle witches history than Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, with the added interest of a look at a young woman’s real life – four pregnancies by age 17 – in the seventeenth century.(Out on February 7, 2019. I read an advanced proof copy from Bonnier Zaffre. [Full disclosure: I was a volunteer reviewer for Stacey when she ran the We Love This Book web magazine.])
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  • Olivia-Savannah Roach
    January 1, 1970
    I was quite excited to read The Familiars because the more I heard about it, the more it sounded like my kind of book. And it was a good read in the end, which made me so happy!What I loved most about this book was the atmosphere. The author definitely managed to create the mysterious, nature-filled and dark feel to the setting which worked so perfectly alongside the witch-y, haunting storyline. I felt like I slowly being immersed in the time period and the situation. The house Fleetwood, the ma I was quite excited to read The Familiars because the more I heard about it, the more it sounded like my kind of book. And it was a good read in the end, which made me so happy!What I loved most about this book was the atmosphere. The author definitely managed to create the mysterious, nature-filled and dark feel to the setting which worked so perfectly alongside the witch-y, haunting storyline. I felt like I slowly being immersed in the time period and the situation. The house Fleetwood, the main character, lives in is surrounded by forest too, which only helped give me the autumn-y, creepy vibe. If you’re a seasonal reader you will not regret picking this one up in the month of October.I also really loved the concept of familiars. There are animals scattered throughout this book, hiding between the pages. I think the idea of them is a really cool one – animals who are linked or connected to their witches. I loved the imagery that the author uses and how it tied in with the themes of the story. I had fun wondering what my familiar would be. And as the reality of witches truly existing becomes questioned, whether the familiars are real or not.This book is so feminist, and it made me really happy. Of course, it’s set in 1612 so there isn’t any modern feminism in it. But Fleetwood is not happy with men declaring women to be witches left right and center. And of course, the women being penalised at the time were often practitioners of medicine and midwifery – so they weren’t happy either. There were many times when I was rooting for Fleetwood and was SO happy when she wasn’t taking any nonsense from anyone. I cheered her along and was so proud for how she stuck up for herself and her fellow women.At the root of this story is a very strong friendship. Alice, who is Fleetwood’s nurse, becomes quite close to her. Although there are a lot of difficulties to their friendship which has to do with trusting each other and the outward influences of the situation they end up in, their friendship is key and strong. I loved seeing such a great female friendship at the heart of the story.The theme of motherhood, infertility and the impact it can have on a relationship is also central to the story. I really liked how it was handled. I may be a 20-year-old woman who is not married and not thinking about having her own children at the moment, but it made me really care about the pregnancy storyline. Especially as the main character had miscarried so many times before this pregnancy.I want to mention that the beginning is a bit slow. It takes time to immerse yourself in Fleetwood’s story and properly fall in love with it. So, if the beginning is a bit slow to you, I would recommend waiting it out. It does get better!I was not entirely convinced by the ending either. I didn’t think all characters needed to be excused for their actions… and I didn’t think certain admittances excused some characters behaviours… Which meant that I felt some people were forgiven too easily for what they did, and that didn’t quite sit right with me. I was satisfied with the end in some ways, and in some ways, I wanted to change it.All in all, this was a very strong debut and it completely consumed me and took me to a different time and place. I will definitely be reading whatever Halls writes next!This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2019/0...
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    As soon as I met Fleetwood Shuttleworth, I fell for her. She's based on a true person - this isn't a name you'd easily think up - but this is her fictional story. Fleetwood was mistress at the grand house of Gawthorpe in 1612, the time and (nearby) place of the infamous Pendle witch trials. The so-called witches do feature here but the glory of The Familiars is its portrayal of this 17-year-old girl, already on her second marriage and already pregnant for the fourth time, the previous pregnancie As soon as I met Fleetwood Shuttleworth, I fell for her. She's based on a true person - this isn't a name you'd easily think up - but this is her fictional story. Fleetwood was mistress at the grand house of Gawthorpe in 1612, the time and (nearby) place of the infamous Pendle witch trials. The so-called witches do feature here but the glory of The Familiars is its portrayal of this 17-year-old girl, already on her second marriage and already pregnant for the fourth time, the previous pregnancies having ended in loss. Her midwife is one of the accused women and there is nothing Fleetwood won't do to save her, her only hope of a safe delivery. It's beautifully written, hugely atmospheric and so hard to put down. As for that cover - it's a thing of beauty. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
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  • Tati
    January 1, 1970
    If this is going to be the most spellbinding debut of 2019, I fear for the next year.Fleetwood was too weak a character, I felt. She wasn't interesting enough to keep the story going. I do realize that those were different times, and that women were supposed to be meek and obey their husbands. But even in her thoughts she was a pushover. And for someone who keeps riding all over the place to be this meek didn't sit right with me to be honest.The most interesting element of this was the witch hun If this is going to be the most spellbinding debut of 2019, I fear for the next year.Fleetwood was too weak a character, I felt. She wasn't interesting enough to keep the story going. I do realize that those were different times, and that women were supposed to be meek and obey their husbands. But even in her thoughts she was a pushover. And for someone who keeps riding all over the place to be this meek didn't sit right with me to be honest.The most interesting element of this was the witch hunt. And even that was not that interesting. There were a few twists, and while they were twisty, they didn't make up for the overall blandness of the story.
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  • Theresa Smith Writes
    January 1, 1970
    ‘“Fleetwood have you knowledge of familiar spirits?” I shook my head. “Then I will direct you to the book of Leviticus. In short, it’s the Devil in disguise. An instrument, if you will, to enlarge his kingdom…they can appear as anything: an animal, a child. It appears to her when she needs it to do her bidding. A familiar is the surest sign of a witch.”’The legend of the Pendle witches is the most notorious witch trial of the 17th century. Just over three centuries saw witch trials held in Engla ‘“Fleetwood have you knowledge of familiar spirits?” I shook my head. “Then I will direct you to the book of Leviticus. In short, it’s the Devil in disguise. An instrument, if you will, to enlarge his kingdom…they can appear as anything: an animal, a child. It appears to her when she needs it to do her bidding. A familiar is the surest sign of a witch.”’The legend of the Pendle witches is the most notorious witch trial of the 17th century. Just over three centuries saw witch trials held in England but fewer than 500 people were executed for this crime. This one series of trials in the summer of 1612 therefore accounts for 2% of all witches executed. – Historic UKI have to say, I am fascinated by this period of English history. Generally, the 17th and 18th centuries are my favourite historical fiction eras, but the whole area of witches is of particular interest to me. The Familiars takes place over the year 1612, when King James I was on the throne.‘He has driven them into the shadows. The king has muddled wise women with witchcraft.’The term witch hunt has never been more accurately applied than in this case. Twelve people were arrested, the majority of these belonging to two disputing families who were supposedly using witchcraft against each other. The exception to this is Alice Gray, the young midwife who Fleetwood Shuttleworth employs in her hopes of finally birthing a live child and surviving to be its mother. Alice is caught up in the witch hunt as a ‘fall guy’, for want of a better expression. Fleetwood becomes very invested in saving Alice’s life, she believes in her innocence fully, but also resents the investigation process of the witch trials, which essentially rest on the finger pointing and testimony of a nine year old girl. The law differed in the instance of witch trials in that a child could testify in a case. Jennet Device was the youngest member of the accused Device family and sent several of her immediate family members to the noose. It’s rather incredible and extremely chilling to contemplate.‘Jennet Device did not look away, and her gaze was full of judgement beyond her years. I knew it was ridiculous to be frightened by a child, but there was something very strange about her.Because of this child, my friend was rotting in a place that light never reached, and was facing her death at the rope. Because of this child, so many others were in there with her. I could barely look at her.’The Familiars is told in the voice of Fleetwood Shuttlewood, the mistress of Gawthorpe Hall, seventeen years old and pregnant for the fourth time. Pregnancy has not been kind to her in the past and this current one is no exception. Fleetwood is frightened, by past events that have seen her suffer two miscarriages and one still birth, and also by some correspondence she accidentally happens across written by a doctor which indicates she will die if she attempts to birth another child. Fleetwood develops an instant rapport with Alice and hires her as her midwife on the first day of meeting her. Alice assures Fleetwood that she can help her keep her baby alive and guide her successfully through its birth. Very quickly, Fleetwood begins to regard Alice as a friend. When Alice is suspected of witchcraft and a warrant is released for her arrest, Fleetwood goes to great lengths to protect her friend, and before long, this need to protect Alice becomes thickly connected with Fleetwood’s impressions of her own fate. She begins to believe that if Alice dies, then she and her child will too.‘Even in life I had been the little ghost, and now I was consigned to death. I held my stomach, and imagined disappearing. It would come soon, no doubt, but it would not be gentle, like the light leaving the sky. It would be painful, and terrifying, and lonely, with no cool hand on my head, no amber eyes willing me calm. There would be a trial, and Alice would die, then I would die, both of us killed in an outbreak of misfortune.’After Alice is arrested, Fleetwood risks both her reputation and her life, as well as that of her unborn child, to investigate Alice’s story, to piece together the truth of the accusations levelled against her. She is so sure that if she can save Alice, she will in turn save herself and her child. I really enjoyed her journey into Alice’s world, the contrasts between her own giving Fleetwood a whole new appreciation, not just for Alice, but for what the other Pendle witches had endured as their everyday life. From this, she was able to gain a measure of understanding on why Jennet had so readily pointed the finger at her family, as in doing so, she was allowed to live in luxury in the magistrate’s house. Who would give that up for what she came from? There was very little love lost between the members of these witch families and loyalty was thin on the ground.‘“People are hanged for a lot less. Do you really think they know the Devil?”I thought of Malkin Tower poking up from the moor-side like a finger from a grave. How the wind had howled there; how it would drive you mad. I thought of Alice’s home, open to the sky; the damp streaming down the walls; the child she knew as a daughter buried in the thick, wet soil. What was there for them in this life? In the shadows cast by their fire at night, perhaps they did see things they wanted to.“If the Devil is poverty, and hunger, and grief, then yes, I think they know the Devil.”’While The Familiars is a work of fiction, it is very much anchored in history. The characters were real people, the events as depicted within the novel unfolded in very much the same way in history. The author has created a fictional relationship between Fleetwood and Alice for the purposes of this story, but other than that, the story is closely aligned to the historical events. I loved experiencing this story from Fleetwood’s point of view, I feel this worked much better than if it had been from Alice’s perspective. The pairing of these two women, from such different walks of life, provided some fresh insight for both of them on the society that they lived in. Each had thought that the other had so much more freedom than what was actually the case. Alice was able to realise that Fleetwood’s privilege came with a heavy price and Fleetwood realised that women, no matter what their class, experienced universal restrictions when it came to having control over their own lives and a voice that would be heard in all forums.‘“How many children do you want to have?”I wrapped my arms around myself.“Two,” I replied. “So that they will never be on their own like I was.”“A boy and a girl?” she asked.“Two boys. I wouldn’t wish a girl’s life on anyone.”’This novel had me in its thrall from the first page until the last. It is steeped in atmosphere, with vivid gothic overtones, and the writing is just sublime. Fleetwood was such a strong and worthy character, she had her flaws, and at times she drove me crazy with the risks she took, but her heart was in the right place and she acted from a deep sense of morality that was distinctly lacking in other characters. For someone so young, she really was an old soul. As much as this novel was about the witch trials, it was also about Fleetwood, transitioning from a child bride into a woman of worth. I highly recommend this novel, it’s quite outstanding.‘What little courage I had – the kernel of hope that had embedded inside me and had got me this far – vanished, like some minuscule object being pulled into a great, powerful river. I knew it the moment it went, and I knew too that it was gone for good.’Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of The Familiars for review.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novelI do love a historical read when there’s a potent mix of fact and fiction. The Familiars immersed me right at the heart of the Pendle Witch trials of 1612 and explored the people, the feelings, the social mores and the ‘justice system’ of the time. That cover caught my attention from the start, but the novel didn’t disappoint.Many of the characters in the novel are real-life figures,. The main one is the very real Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a 17-year-old noblewoman w Visit the locations in the novelI do love a historical read when there’s a potent mix of fact and fiction. The Familiars immersed me right at the heart of the Pendle Witch trials of 1612 and explored the people, the feelings, the social mores and the ‘justice system’ of the time. That cover caught my attention from the start, but the novel didn’t disappoint.Many of the characters in the novel are real-life figures,. The main one is the very real Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a 17-year-old noblewoman who finds herself caught up in the trials and risks everything when her friend and midwife Alice Grey is implicated. The author is originally from the area and her fascination with the subject and legend attached it to shines through. Why should a group of women be persecuted for apparently being involved in witchcraft? Fleetwood rushes around the countryside on horseback in a desperate attempt to free Alice and you can’t help but cheer her on.“Neighbours denouncing neighbours—it was the most reliable trait of humanity, and was how the dungeon was filled in the first place. Rumour could spread faster than disease, and could be just as destructive.”The book isn’t primarily about the famous trials as it goes on, but more about the women who suffered and the treatment of women at the time in general. There are no spells or creepy rituals as you might imagine. The witchcraft practices they were accused of where nothing more than using herbs as medicines and the many techniques the midwives used at the time. You might think these women were accused of dark magic or worse, but no.That’s what makes this story all the more tragic. However, the Pendle theme lingers throughout. This is a slow build read, but a satisfying one at that.
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  • Karen Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. 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? Based on real history. In an era where women were to be seen and not heard, Fleetwood Shuttleworth knows the women are falsely accused of witchery and goes to great lengths, even to endanger herself and unborn baby, to prevent the deaths of innocent women.3.5 I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. 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? Based on real history. In an era where women were to be seen and not heard, Fleetwood Shuttleworth knows the women are falsely accused of witchery and goes to great lengths, even to endanger herself and unborn baby, to prevent the deaths of innocent women.3.5 rounded up to 4☆
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  • Rachel Hall
    January 1, 1970
    Eminently readable historical fiction marred by a dubious heroine and lack of atmosphere.Stacey Halls debut historical novel is a fictionalised account of the Pendle witch trials in 17th-century Lancashire and with a cast of characters drawn from real-life events and a plucky young heroine in seventeen-year-old Fleetwood Shuttleworth challenging the perceptions of the era, it should have had all the ingredients for a gripping drama. 1612 and the young mistress of palatial Gawthorpe Hall that ove Eminently readable historical fiction marred by a dubious heroine and lack of atmosphere.Stacey Halls debut historical novel is a fictionalised account of the Pendle witch trials in 17th-century Lancashire and with a cast of characters drawn from real-life events and a plucky young heroine in seventeen-year-old Fleetwood Shuttleworth challenging the perceptions of the era, it should have had all the ingredients for a gripping drama. 1612 and the young mistress of palatial Gawthorpe Hall that overlooks the imposing Lancastrian landscape is expecting for the fourth time. With a healthy baby yet to come to fruition and a desire to demonstrate her gratitude to older, wealthy and widely admired husband, Richard, she longs to produce the heir he yearns for. In choosing Fleetwood to be his wife, Richard has given her an escape from the austere confines of her childhood home, a domineering mother and the harrowing memory of a first marriage at the age of four. When Fleetwood stumbles across a letter from a physician making apparent the fact that another baby would be the death of her and the prospect of survival is unlikely, she descends into a spiral of suspicion and turmoil... could her husband have kept the letter from her? Intent on bearing a healthy baby and cementing her position as Mistress Shuttleworth, a desperate Fleetwood encounters a unsettling local woman who claims to be a midwife in Alice Grey. Resourceful yet not easily drawn outside of her self-contained demeanour, Alice claims that she will ensure Fleetwood delivers a healthy baby and survives and, when early signs of her treatments are positive it convinces Fleetwood that only Alice can make certain of a safe delivery. But when Alice is caught in the crossfire of the witch trials and stands accused of witchcraft by Roger Nowell, a former sheriff and father figure to Richard, matters become personal. As Roger’s quest for power is countered by Fleetwood’s determination to ensure Alice is saved from the rope and by her side when she gives birth a fraught power struggle ensues. Believing yet having no firm knowledge that Alice is innocent of the charges made against her, a heavily pregnant Fleetwood sets out to prove it..I found plucky Fleetwood Shuttleworth a difficult lead protagonist to invest in and her rapid evolution from naive and uninformed mistress into having the wherewithal and confidence to challenge her husband, the high courts and the King of England is slightly incredulous. There is little supportive evidence to justify this transition from self absorbed young woman into pioneering precedent setter. Fleetwood lacks depth and I could not begin to care for her fate or connect with her first-person narrative. Not only was she disappointingly vapid, I could not instil belief in her actually commanding authority in what should have been a stirring denouement. Alongside her Alice Gray remains something of an enigma throughout the entire story and I felt that Stacey Halls made little of her potential for characterisation. Understanding Fleetwood’s passion when she did all the running in her relationship with somewhat surly Alice yet would have had limited exposure to witchcraft also feels dubious. Any sense of mutual friendship and commitment to each other is absent and as such, this feels like Fleetwood’s story with Alice and the witch trails a necessary sideshow.There is precious little insight into the women who stood trial as witches and their is little palpable atmosphere to what should be a tumultuous backdrop of anger and resentment. This spirit of the era feels largely absent and the supporting cast, with the exception of former magistrate and sheriff, Roger Nowell, are disappointingly lacking in character. It is ambitious of Halls to tackle the topic of the Pendle witch trials when they have been covered so extensively by recent fiction novels and the bar set so high, and whilst The Familiars makes for a solid historical fiction debut I was far from convinced and sadly underwhelmed. As it stands the story feels like a simplified and rose-tinted attempt to capture the female empowerment movement and the eventual outcome feels all too obvious from the off. Limited in substance and slightly meandering in the first half, the idea that a seventeen-year-old Fleetwood would risk her life, that of her unborn child, her marriage and liberty for a woman with a few herbs and potentially supernatural powers is hard to swallow. Likewise her eventual indifference to her husbands deceits leaves conflicting emotions and for all Fleetwood’s uncompromising behaviour in challenging the misconceptions of the era, her casual acceptance of her husbands betrayal is the very antithesis of her vocal attitude in highlighting the injustices towards women in the era. Whilst the story has a coherent plot, proves solidly entertaining and gathers pace in the second half, there in limited depth and credibility to a novel that is principally Fleetwood’s story and lacks any real sense of atmosphere.With thanks to Readers First who provided me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    4.25🌟Really enjoyed this book. One or two slight quibbles, one being there wasn't enough about the Pendle Witches but to be fair I am pretty obsessed by them and James' persecution of 'witches' in general.An intresting and involving read for most of the book...another slight niggle...maybe the last quarter wasn't as strong as what went before but overall, 4 solid ⭐.
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  • Cora Tea Party Princess
    January 1, 1970
    I read a sneak peek on Readers First and now I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the story.The writing is lush and descriptive and I am INTRIGUED as to where the story is going to go next. The writing style is very evocative and I could almost feel the threatening rain from the clouds.I love the beautiful wood engraving style illustration at the beginning.And the cover is stunning! It's absolutely gorgeous and I think I could stare at it all day, picking out the little details.
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  • Jen (shitbookreviews.com)
    January 1, 1970
    Originally reviewed on shitbookreviews.comI got this as a preview copy from the nice people at Netgalley. I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not 💜---TL;DR – The Familiars is a binge-worthy book which should make you mad and full of joy all at the same time. The Familiars made me use the highlight function on my Kindle. A function I’d never seen the point in using before because surely nothing would resonate with me as a few silly words in a book, right? But there’ Originally reviewed on shitbookreviews.comI got this as a preview copy from the nice people at Netgalley. I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not 💜---TL;DR – The Familiars is a binge-worthy book which should make you mad and full of joy all at the same time. The Familiars made me use the highlight function on my Kindle. A function I’d never seen the point in using before because surely nothing would resonate with me as a few silly words in a book, right? But there’s something quite poignant about realising how shit life once was (or still is in some cases) for a lot of women. Case and point:"Fleetwood, your head is full of fancies. You speak as if we are in a play, all with a part to act. You and I have no role in the King’s justice, we support our husbands."It’s 1612. You’re 17 and on your third(!) pregnancy after failing to carry to term every other time. People are convinced every woman who is a little strange or doesn’t follow the norms is practising witchcraft. You are rich AF (servants, cooks etc) with privilege oozing out of every pore, but you befriend an unlikely character and put the life of your unborn child into Alice Grey’s hands; a young midwife with a herbal track record. Scene set, yeah?I have a lot of love for this book. I didn’t want to put it down, but the allotted 45 min bus journey to work dictated that I had to otherwise I’d have attempted to keep reading this whilst walking (not something I recommend – people get pissy when you walk into them 🤷). It’s captivating as it entwines with your life, yet infuriating as you realise how few rights women had.Fleetwood’s character is detailed and lovable with as much screw-the-patriarchy as she could probably muster during that time period without being hung. Pushing what I guess would be ‘boundaries’ back in’t day, Fleetwood didn’t resign to what was expected – she rode in hunts and had an air of independence about her. I guess you could potentially say she was adventurous for a lady of her class in the 17th century. Alice, on the other hand, lived a life of poverty, abuse and continued to be mysterious throughout. As an ‘untraditional’ midwife with a lot of survivals under her belt at a young age, suspicion was quickly cast her way.Hall doesn’t go down the whole pointy hats and bubbling cauldrons for her witches. Oh, no no no. And to say I’m glad is a massive understatement. The witches in this book are a little more true to ye olde times – peaceful yet curious and (in some cases) a little unnerving. They were after all just women helping other women to bring children into this world. Now that I’ve had a slight gushing session over the book, it did have a few flaws:- Given that the title is The Familiars, you hear very little about them. If you start reading this book and don’t have a clue what a familiar is, then don’t expect it to ever be explained. You’ll probably figure it out but I just wish a little more time had been spent on that. -Some characters felt a little weak. Perhaps this was just me being an eejit but I kept forgetting which way around Richard/Roger was meant to be and which one I should hate the most. FYI – it’s Roger. He’s a colossal prick. - This is probably the only time you’ll ever hear me say WHY ISN’T THIS BOOK LONNNNNGER?! The ending is abrupt. I get why, but I just wanted a little moreThat being said, it’s an excellent little read and the perfect curl-up-on-the-sofa-during-the-winter-and-binge-the-heck-out-of read.
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  • Beadyjan
    January 1, 1970
    I concur with all the great reviews I've seen for this title. It held me firmly in its grip from start to finish and never let go.It is a quite terrifying indictment of how powerless women were, and were expected to be, in an age when men held all the power and quite literally had the power of life and death over women with the capacity to dominate women and decide their fate, just because they were male and could get away with anything.I found the story all the more shocking as the heroine, wit I concur with all the great reviews I've seen for this title. It held me firmly in its grip from start to finish and never let go.It is a quite terrifying indictment of how powerless women were, and were expected to be, in an age when men held all the power and quite literally had the power of life and death over women with the capacity to dominate women and decide their fate, just because they were male and could get away with anything.I found the story all the more shocking as the heroine, with the unusual first name of Fleetwood, is just 17 years old yet is in the midst of her fourth pregnancy. She is an innocent yet proves to have an inbuilt strength she needs to survive. She has a charming but perfidious husband, a mother she despises, no friends and only her faithful rescued hound Puck as a loyal companion.Fearing she won't survive this pregnancy, it's little surprise that she is delighted when she meets another young woman, Alice who claims skills in midwifery which she promises will help Fleetwood deliver a healthy baby safely.She soon comes to rely on Alice and the two young women from very different backgrounds become friends. But Fleetwood is soon to discover a shocking betrayal, and Alice is to stand accused of witchcraft whilst Fleetwoods struggle for a healthy pregnancy becomes a death-defying nightmarish journey.Based on the real and notorious Pendle witchcraft trials this books weaves clever and compelling fiction around authentic characters and sweeps us through the 15th century at a gallop. An outstandingly captivating book which weaves its magic around the reader throughout.
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  • Megan Woodrich
    January 1, 1970
    A solid piece of historical fiction that centers on a female friendship. I was hoping for a bit more witchcraft, but still, the story drew me in.
  • Εvdokia Veloudou
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Bonnier & Zaffre for providing me with a finished copy of this book. I love it that I went into this book expecting nothing and getting so much of it. That’s the best kind of read. ‘The Familiars’ was that kind of book for me. It gave me so much, without even knowing I wanted to. The story takes place in 1612, at a time when King James I of England (King James IV of Scotland) was at the throne. It was a well-known fact that King James was dreadfully afraid of witches, therefore Thank you to Bonnier & Zaffre for providing me with a finished copy of this book. I love it that I went into this book expecting nothing and getting so much of it. That’s the best kind of read. ‘The Familiars’ was that kind of book for me. It gave me so much, without even knowing I wanted to. The story takes place in 1612, at a time when King James I of England (King James IV of Scotland) was at the throne. It was a well-known fact that King James was dreadfully afraid of witches, therefore there was an increase of arrests of people who were even suspected of using witchcraft or were carrying out the devil’s work. Wise women (aka healers) were an easy target. We follow the life of Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a young 17-year-old bride, who, unfortunately, has been unable to produce an heir thus far for her husband. When Fleetwood stumbles upon some alarming news regarding her health, she flees from her house in distress. On her way to the moors of Lancaster, she chances upon a strange girl, named Alison Gray. Fleetwood takes a keen interest on the young woman, and eventually takes her on as her midwife, hoping that she will be able to see her through her third pregnancy. Being a wise woman in those days though could be dangerous, and the more the two women bonded, the more they find themselves trapped by their circumstances and the choices they make. I simply loved seeing the growth and the journey that Fleetwood goes through this book, starting out as a very timid little housewife and eventually growing into the woman she’s always hoped she’d be. The book is so beautifully written, very well researched on the Pendle witch trials and offers an interesting dose of historical trivia of the times. The bond between the two women was wonderful to witness, as both characters managed to come to terms with their past and be able to stand up for themselves for what they believed in.  The plot flows with a steady pace, up until the time for the big climax leads to a justified resolution. Fans of historical fiction will not be disappointed by this fast paced read. There might not be battles or physical wars in this one, but there is psychological growth and an empowerment of women.
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    I stuck with this book hoping that the protagonist, Fleetwood, would find her voice. Her character did not evolve and grow as much as she could have, which left me feeling unsatisfied after I finished the book.
  • Isabelle
    January 1, 1970
    Recommended by Olivia's Catastrophe.
  • Eleanor Slater
    January 1, 1970
    This book has a slow build but once it gets going (which is really only by part 3... you do have to be patient) it is addictive as heck! Thankfully I was on a never ending train journey so could whip on through to the end. I really enjoyed the setting and surrounding characters in this novel, although the central lady did drive me a little nuts at times with her riddiculous priorities and pettiness. All in all it was an enjoyable read, I will happily give her next book a whirl!
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    I expected to like The Familiars more than I did. I found the age of the girl very disturbing. I realize that girls were wed and pregnant very young during the time, but I didn't care for reading the details of this practice. I skimmed through some of this story because I just couldn't read it without being upset. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    This book is wonderful! The writing is gorgeous and atmospheric from beginning to end. I was gripped pretty quickly due to the fact that I adored Fleetwood as a protagonist. As soon as I realised this was based on the Pendle Witch Trials I was IN. Thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley for my free eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.full review to come
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.In 1612, witches are being hunted in England. Being a woman puts you in the most danger of being accused as one. Fleetwood Shuttleworth is again pregnant, and is anxious to give her husband an heir after several miscarriages. She encounters a young woman, Alice Gray, whom she takes in to be her midwife; Alice promises she can help Fleetwood successfully deliver a baby. But then Alice herself is acc An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.In 1612, witches are being hunted in England. Being a woman puts you in the most danger of being accused as one. Fleetwood Shuttleworth is again pregnant, and is anxious to give her husband an heir after several miscarriages. She encounters a young woman, Alice Gray, whom she takes in to be her midwife; Alice promises she can help Fleetwood successfully deliver a baby. But then Alice herself is accused of being a witch, and Fleetwood fears for both Alice's and her own unborn baby's lives.I really enjoyed this novel. I found it well-written and very compelling. Historical novels I have read lately have had some time travel/present-day twist, and I'm actually quite happy this book didn't include that. It just takes place in the 1600s, showing readers how it was to live as a woman in this time; it didn't need that twist to make it interesting. I loved the exploration of a woman's place in society and in her own home. I particularly liked seeing Fleetwood's relationship with her husband, Richard, and with her severe mother as she tries navigating what a wife should do. Looking back at the story, I really don't have many complaints about the characters, narration, or plot. I think Fleetwood really comes into her own through the story, changing from a somewhat meek woman to one who is more brave and outgoing - she tries to save Alice's life, and also speaks out against men. My only complaint would probably be that the story is a bit insubstantial. I suppose I wish there was something *more* to it, another aspect or twist to give it more depth. I also wish there had been something more done with the witches and discussion of the familiars. Overall, I really did enjoy the book! I think it's a great look into the historical period of the early 1600s, especially from the perspective of a woman.Blog | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Sally Boocock
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this especially as it is based in the Elizabethan Gawthorpe hall near Burnley.Stories abound about the Pendle witches in this part of thr country and as I live in Lancaster I was fascinated to read this novel. It didnt disappoint.It tells the story of the young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, mistress of Gawthorpe hall and pregnant with her 3rd child after two miscarriages. She makes the acquaintance of a young girl who says she is a midwife and helps her. But with the witch hunt in I thoroughly enjoyed this especially as it is based in the Elizabethan Gawthorpe hall near Burnley.Stories abound about the Pendle witches in this part of thr country and as I live in Lancaster I was fascinated to read this novel. It didnt disappoint.It tells the story of the young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, mistress of Gawthorpe hall and pregnant with her 3rd child after two miscarriages. She makes the acquaintance of a young girl who says she is a midwife and helps her. But with the witch hunt increasing every day it becomes a dangerous time to be a woman. Riddled with striking descriptions of the countryside , Lancaster and the people it becomes a battle for Fleetwood to be able to keep hold of her friend and who she can and cannot trust. Basedl loosely on the true events of the witch hunts I would heartedly recommend it to anyone who like me is interested in that period of time.
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  • NerdyBookishBeauty
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed how this was written, the plot and the verbiage true to its time. I was very impressed with the style of writing of this interesting story. While I enjoyed the writing style, the story could not keep me hooked. I would get bored with it and I struggled to get halfway. If you can make it to that point, the story grabs you and the friendship that grows will keep you until the end. I received this book from NetGalley for my honest review. This book will be available February 2019.
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  • Andreia
    January 1, 1970
    The Familiars was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. And I was lucky enough to get an ARC and the chance to read it earlier than everyone else – and I’ll be forever grateful for that. If there’s one book that did not disappoint me one bit, it’s this one. If there’s one book that made every second I waited to get my hands on it worth it, it’s this one. If there’s one book that you should read even if you have never read historical fiction before, it’s this one.The Familiars is inspired The Familiars was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. And I was lucky enough to get an ARC and the chance to read it earlier than everyone else – and I’ll be forever grateful for that. If there’s one book that did not disappoint me one bit, it’s this one. If there’s one book that made every second I waited to get my hands on it worth it, it’s this one. If there’s one book that you should read even if you have never read historical fiction before, it’s this one.The Familiars is inspired by the witch trials that took place in 1612, in Lancashire, UK. It resurrects some of the names written on the records of those trials and it weaves a fantastical but quite plausible backstory for two of the women that were accused of witchcraft on that instance. However, the plot is not specifically about the witch trials; it is about what lead people to believe those women were witches and how the trials came to be. This doesn’t make the story less interesting – in fact, it proved to be the entire opposite to me.I loved how Stacey Halls introduced a pregnant seventeen-year-old girl with no self-esteem and a weak personality to a mysterious, confident, and very different girl and threw them at the wolves until they became inseparable. The bond between these two girls is so wholesome, so heart-warming, the reader doesn’t have a choice but to hope that they can be friends forever. A word of caution: do not expect a friendship between a rich, married girl and someone who’s known to be linked to witches to be an easy one.Ah, Fleetwood and Alice: what a perfect duo. They complete each other so well and they learn so much from one another. They empower each other (which is exactly what a real friendship is all about) and they rescue each other in so many different ways. They’re not easy to forget and I think they’ve made sure they stay in my heart for many years to come.(Fleetwood’s bond with her dog is also one of the best things in the book; my favourite bit is when she says something like ‘I just want to be left alone and play with my dog’, which I can totally relate to.)The whole point of the book is to show how women were (and unfortunately still are) seen as dangerous if they were strong-minded enough to swim against the current. Suspicion gave away to superstition and innocent lives were destroyed by mere rumours. And those who dared to defend them, were also found guilty.In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of allThe Familiars is a poignant, enthralling, and extremely rich story about friendship, self-discovery, injustice, heartbreak and betrayal. It kept me hooked from page one and I devoured it as quickly as it devoured me. Follow ParabataiReviews for more.
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  • Lucie
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I adored this book so much, I didn’t know much about the Pendle witch trials beforehand (I just knew Pendle from the Wardstone Chronicles and I see what you did there, Joseph Delaney 👀), but I was so intrigued and learning a little bit about it was amazing. One of my favourite things about this novel was the friendship between Fleetwood and Alice, it started as a professional relationship, then became so much more and it mad I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I adored this book so much, I didn’t know much about the Pendle witch trials beforehand (I just knew Pendle from the Wardstone Chronicles and I see what you did there, Joseph Delaney 👀), but I was so intrigued and learning a little bit about it was amazing. One of my favourite things about this novel was the friendship between Fleetwood and Alice, it started as a professional relationship, then became so much more and it made my heart full. The Familiars also took me by surprise many times (!!) and it truly was everything I wanted. I’ll sure keep an eye out for what Stacey Halls writes next.My full review will be up next week, so I’ll discuss it more then, but it was amazing!
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  • Helen Carolan
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful historical fiction set in 1612 during the Pendle witch trials. Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 and married for 4 years to Richard. During that time she has suffered 3 miscarriages. Now she's pregnant again and desperate to have this baby. Then she encounters young midwife Alice Gray who believes she can help. Fleetwood finally feels she has an understanding midwife but also a close woman friend. But Alice has been caught up in accusations relating to the Pendle witches and Fleetwood must Wonderful historical fiction set in 1612 during the Pendle witch trials. Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 and married for 4 years to Richard. During that time she has suffered 3 miscarriages. Now she's pregnant again and desperate to have this baby. Then she encounters young midwife Alice Gray who believes she can help. Fleetwood finally feels she has an understanding midwife but also a close woman friend. But Alice has been caught up in accusations relating to the Pendle witches and Fleetwood must move heaven and earth to save her friend. Excellent read.
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