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The Familiars
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The Familiars (Hardback)

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Synopsis

The most spellbinding debut novel of 2019 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. 'Assured and alluring, this beautiful tale of women and witchcraft and the fight against power was a delight from start to finish' Jessie Burton, author of THE MINIATURIST 'The Familiars is an intricate and sensitive portrayal of a brave, tenacious young girl carving her place in the world. A must-read novel' Heather Morris, bestselling author of THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ 'I read this in just over a day - I was completely hooked! An intriguing story about a fascinating period of history and brilliant female characters' Libby Page, author of THE LIDO 'A wonderful novel, enthralling, spellbinding, terrifying, full of twists and turns, written with heart and style - and the final chapters will have you racing to the end' Kate Williams, author of THE STORMS OF WAR



Fiction & PoetryHistorical FictionFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Zaffre Publishing Publication Date: 04/02/2019 ISBN-13: 9781785766114  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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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.

More books by Stacey Halls

Customer Reviews

"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

- 05/02/2019
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Staff Choice

The Familiars is richly atmospheric, conjuring up the feel of the early seventeenth century with ease. Using the Pendle witch investigations as its inspiration, it approaches the story from a new and insightful angle – through the eyes of a spirited young woman straining against the restrictions of her class and gender who befriends one of the women caught up in the accusations. The very real sense of peril for women at this time comes through clearly, and there’s enough of a layer of doubt over whether there’s any supernatural activity going on to keep you questioning.

Perfect for fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister and The Crimson Ribbon.

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 20/02/2019

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