I’m thrilled to be co-hosting the final stop on the blog tour for the paperback publication of The Familiars by Stacey Halls. Thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the invitation and to Zaffre for my gorgeous paperback copy. Before I share my review here’s what the book is all about:
“To save her child, she will trust a stranger. To protect a secret, she must risk her life…
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 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.“
Published by Zaffre in paperback on the 24th September 2019
This was a wonderful book that instantly transported me to Lancashire in the 1600s.
I really liked Fleetwood, and was just as intrigued by Alice when she came across her in the opening chapters of the book. I really hoped that Alice was the right midwife for her, and that Fleetwood would give birth to a healthy baby without any complications along the way. I loved the descriptions of life seen through Fleetwood’s eyes, and really felt like I was part of the story as the twists and turns of the plot took her away from her comfortable life at Gawthorpe, revealing secrets and enemies.
I also liked Alice, although I wasn’t too sure if I should trust her as much as Fleetwood did. I kept feeling that she was definitely hiding something. Was it just that she wasn’t as confident or as rich as Fleetwood, or was it in relation to the witchcraft accusations?
As the story raced towards the trial, Fleetwood became more desperate to rescue Alice, and more determined to show her husband who could and couldn’t be trusted. Fleetwood was one determined woman, nothing and no-one was going to stop her from saving her midwife and her unborn baby!
I highly recommend this one, it’s historical fiction at it’s best and is one of my favourite books this year.
About the author:
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 worked as a journalist for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine. TV rights have been sold to The Bureau production company.
The Familiars is her first novel and her second, The Foundling, is coming Feb 2020. Say hello @Stacey_Halls on Twitter and @StaceyHallsAuthor on Instagram.