10 Jul 2021


Book Review / The Familiars by Stacey Halls

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.


Published:     19th September 2019
Publisher:  Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




This was one of those books that I picked up on a whim.  Honestly, I thought the cover was pretty and it was a story about witches, which I love to read about, whether that his stories that are historically accurate or ones that are completely fictional.   Although I believe this story is completely fictoinal, it does have a feeling of being very historic and something that could have definately happened in the past.  

We follow Fleetwood who is in a new marriage and has tried and desperately been unable to carry a child to full term.  She is now pregnant again.  When she discovers a doctors letter which basically says that if she can't carry this child to full term it will also take her life as well, she decides to try and find a solution.  She meets Alice Gray who helps her along  We are in an era where woman who can perform miracles and even work with herbs etc are called witches and being a witch is dangerous as if you are caught you are more than likely going to go to trial and be sentenced to death.

This was a very addicting read.  This was also a slow paced book for me but I think that just added to the mystery and intrigue in this story, so I loved that part of it.   There were certainly quite a few twists and turns in this book and a few surprises that caught me off guard.

Would highly recommend this novel if you like historical reads.