Review: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

IMG_20190305_122049_030.jpgAuthor: Stacey Halls

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published by: Bonnier Zaffre

Publication date: 07/02/19

Pages: 432

My Rating: ★★★★★

I received a free review copy from Bonnier Zaffre in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The most spellbinding debut novel of 2019

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.

When 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.

When 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?

As the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood¹s 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.

Before I start, this isn’t one of the best reviews I’ve written. I’m still getting back into the swing of things after my break. I hope you bear with me while I get back on track, I promise this book is amazing in every way though!

The Familiars is the stunning debut from Stacey Halls, inspired by the Pendle Witch Trials in 1612. I was sold from the moment heard “witch trials” and immediately signed up for a review copy. I’d never heard of these particular witch trials before hearing about the book, as someone fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials, I can’t believe I didn’t know about this one. Everyone in the book were real people either directly involved in the trials of on the periphery, though Fleetwood and Alice Gray are for the most part fictional as the former was on the periphery and very little is known about the latter.

I can’t tell you how much I adored this book. It’s so easy to over-hype a book in your head, especially when you’ve had a year to do it. I can safely say this one didn’t disappoint, I was still up at half three finishing it and went straight onto Google to read up about it. I’m in awe of the writing, it’s so beautiful and vivid, it felt like you were actually there. Don’t even get me started on the plot and character development. One of my favourite things was the relationship between Fleetwood and Alice, how it evolved throughout the book, I can’t say too much on this without spoiling it. The strength and resilience Fleetwood shows during the trials, pregnancy she won’t survive and everything thrown at her is incredible. There is so much to love about this book, from the cover to the gorgeous writing and setting. The Familiars is definitely one to add to your TBR, even if, like me, you don’t typically read historic fiction.


Buy from: Book Depository Waterstones


2 thoughts on “Review: The Familiars by Stacey Halls”

  1. I LOVED The Familiars! I gave it four stars in the end because I wish the ending had been a little different – I thought certain things were forgiven that maybe shouldn’t have been. (I won’t drop a spoiler in your post but I’m sure you can guess) But I agree with you on how beautiful the writing was, and I loved Fleetwood’s development over the novel so much. I really appreciated how much the novel left to the reader’s imagination as well.

    Folded Paper Foxes |


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