Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

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 isn¹t 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.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 7, 2019
 by Bonnier Zaffre
2.5/5 stars

I grabbed this book not just because of it’s gorgeous cover but the subject matter, Pendle Witch Trials.  I'm familiar with the Salem witch trials from 1692 but I know nothing about the Pendle trials.

Whether my expectations were too high or not I am going against the flow with my thoughts on this book. Well I appreciate that the author used real historical figures to tell the story of this dark time in history I was craving more information about the witch trials themselves rather than fleeting glances. The Familiars is a story of a 17-year-old pregnant woman and her obsession with Alice Gray, a young midwife.

The writing for the story was good I just found the story itself underwhelming. The main focus was Fleetwood’s pregnancy, her 4th at this young age. Her relationship with her mother, her husband and midwife Alice are center stage. The slow pace didn't keep me as captivated as I would have liked and the ending was just brushed upon without too much fanfair.

Even though The Familiars was a miss for me I will give the author another go with her latest book, Mrs. England, which was getting lots of hype when released.  

This book is part of my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

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