The Familiars - Stacey Halls | Foyles Bookstore
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The Familiars
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The Familiars (Hardback)

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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 was born in 1989 and grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, the Independent, the Sun and Fabulous. Her first book, The Familiars, was the bestselling debut hardback novel of 2019, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards' Debut Book of the Year.

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Customer Reviews

It has been a while since I picked up some historical fiction. I usually go for books like this in the autumn, especially given the beautiful cover design that this one has. However, I didn't get around to this until the beginning of January but I flew through it because I found it so interesting. The setting of Gawthorpe Hall and the surround areas was pretty magical and I enjoyed the description of such places. I loved the character of Fleetwood Shuttleworth. I really connected with her as a character and found myself routing for her from the very beginning. I was glad to see that she was quite headstrong, bold and brave considering her position and her health. It's so nice when you feel that emotional connection with a main character in a book because you want what's best for them and for them to succeed in whatever it is they are working towards. I also enjoyed reading about Alice Gray. She had a very interesting story and I like that she seemed unreliable and untrustworthy at times because it made you want to keep going to find out who she really was. The writing style is very addictive. Stacey Halls has a really magical way of writing that just made me want to keep going. There were numerous times that I struggled to put the book down. It definitely had that "I know it's late, but just one more chapter" feeling for me, and before I knew it, most of the time, I had read six more chapters and it was one in the morning! Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I felt for the characters and I really enjoyed going back to a book that involved witchcraft and trials. This area of history has fascinated me since I read The Crucible as a teenager, and it has made me want to reread it again as well as look for other books that focus on this topic. Stacey Halls has done a phenomenal job with this book and I look forward to whatever she may bring out next.

- 30/03/2019
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"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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