Friday 25 October 2019

The Familiars
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 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.

I have to thank my son for badgering me to read this book! I do love historical fiction and this one has really left me wanting more!

Fleetwood is a young bride who is desperate for a child of her own, but as she keeps miscarrying, she is becoming increasingly despondent and will go to any lengths to get help to carry a child full term. Even if it means employing a local "midwife" (Alice) who promises to help Fleetwood have a baby with the help of herbs and local remedies.

Fleetwood's husband Richard is very influential within the community and doesn't want to be embarrassed in any way and will do whatever it takes to have an heir to his estate.

Anybody who is interested in history or witches will have heard of the Pendle Witches and I am no exception. This was my first read when I went on holiday to Cyprus in October and I devoured it in a couple of days.

I'm not going to give any spoilers or go into too much detail, but this is a super read and now I know that the authors next novel is called The Foundling, I am so excited and eagerly awaiting this one.

The Foundling Museum in central London is absolutely fascinating, but also very upsetting knowing that children and babies were often left on the doorstep with "tokens" from their parents for the children to remember them by when they were older.

To order a copy of The Familiars on Amazon click here

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