The Familiars free read ✓ 6

Stacey Halls ´ 6 read

Hts of th century women and raises the uestion 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 Book Reviewed by Stacey on wwwwhisperingstoriescomThe Year 1612 Pendle Lancashire Seventeen Year Old Fleetwood Shuttleworth has been married for four years and in that time she has been pregnant three times too losing each child before their birth dates Fleetwood is once again pregnant and hoping to make it to full term with her child so she can give her husband an heir to carry on the Shuttleworth name Unfortunately she comes across a letter from the local physician which was written after she lost her third child which states that if she would be to fall pregnant again it is unlikely that she will surviveFleetwood is distressed by the letter and wants to confront her husband about it but doesn t know how She decides to go a different route and hire a local woman to be her midwife a woman that knows all about potions and herbs and promises to deliver a healthy baby Alice GreyThere is talk amongst the local people of witches in the area and her new midwife is soon finding her name bought into the accusations of witchcraft Fleetwood is sure Alice is innocent and with the trial looming close and if found guilty Alice will be hung Fleetwood will do anything to save her new friend even going against her husband for the young womanThe Familiars is a historical novel set in the era when people who were a little different were accused of being witches and killed not only in the UK but across the world too One of the most famous and best recorded witch trials in the UK was in Pendle Lancashire now dubbed the home of the Pendle Witches where twelve people went on trial and ten found guiltyMs Halls has weaved her superior tale around the events from 1612 and brought into her fictional novel some famous names from the trials including Alizon Device and Alice Grey The Shuttleworth family are also a well known real family from the area tooFleetwood although only seventeen has been through some hard times Not only is it illegal to get married at the age she did these days but you just couldn t comprehend a young girl of seventeen having been married for four years and not only being pregnant four times but losing three of her children before birth too I found her character although a little weak minded at times yet she was intriguing and I enjoyed watching her evolve as the plot progressedWhilst the book is set during the Pendle Witch trials for my liking there wasn t enough about them in the book mainly because I love a good book featuring witches and this is what made me choose to read the story in the first place What information there is is historically accurate and you can tell that the author has a keen interest in the past and has done lots of researchOverall the book left me satisfied and I thoroughly enjoyed it It left me feeling enthralled with parts and spellbound by others The pace felt a little slow to at times but in my personal opinion slowness works in historical fiction as it allows you to really grasp the past and understand it The pace does pick up as you near the endThis is a book that I feel is going to be a bit like Marmite in that if you have an interest in historical fiction or indeed the witch trials or Pendle you will love it If you have no interest in these subject then I can t see it being of interest to you

review The Familiars

The Familiars

Accused of witchcraftIs there 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 loom Time is running out both their lives are at stake Only they know the truth Only they can save each otherRich and compelling set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials this novel explores the rig There are times when I get absolutely giddy over a book that I ve just finished so much so that I start babbling to my neighbors call up family members talk about it to strangers in stores despite their strange looks as though I ve lost my mind That is exactly what I have found myself doing with Stacey Halls new book The FamiliarsAre you familiar with familiars Yes I know I m part Scottish so these things are embedded into my DNA but for many I now realize they are not A familiar is an animal that is close to a witch who does certain things for the witch They can act as protectors spies a type of servant or most often a close companion If you see one you most often will see the other because they rarely are separatedFleetwood Shuttleworth is the 17 years old mistress at Gawthorpe Hall The year is 1612 and she pregnant for the fourth time The problem however is that she has yet to bring a child to term something both she and her husband are concerned about each for very different reasons By chance Fleetwood encounters a woman in the forest on her property This woman Alice Gray claims to be a midwife and promises Fleetwood that she can help her give birth to a healthy child They agree on terms and Alice is brought into Gawthorpe Hall where Fleetwood almost at once begins to feel better There are problems however King James as we all should know is on a witch hunt and his minions who wish to stay in his favor will do whatever necessary to stay in the king s good graces including accusing innocent women of witchcraft Fleetwood has the misfortune of living near Pendle Hill and one of her husband s dearest friends and benefactor s is just the sort of man to gather up innocents to appease the king and that is exactly what he does including Alice GrayI live in a town named Pendleton settled by men originally from Pendle Hill We actually have a place called Pendle Hill in our tiny town so I have a strange slightly bizarre fascination with the Pendle witches of Lancashire When I first read about The Familiars I was led to believe that it was a witch story and somewhat cutesy That is far from the truth This is a story of the women in the surrounding village who eventually were charged with murder and witchcraft at Pendle Hill specifically Alice Gray It is the story of Alice s friendship with Fleetwood and the extreme measures that Fleetwood took in order to save her friend It is a beautifully told story of women devotion love motherhood history and so much but it is very much rooted in historically accurate research At the heart of the tale is Fleetwood and her desire to bring her child into the world safely and alive In order to do so she truly believes she must have Alice by her side It isn t about magic or witchcraft it is about herbs and knowledge passed down from one generation of women to the next As we learn these women were being rounded up far too often because of men who merely wanted them gone for reasons of cheating anger because the women were knowledgeable not unlike what is happening today when intelligent women are mocked in the public arena They were also being hanged because their religion no longer aligned with that of King James Then as now religion was a source of war Isn t it amazing how absolutely nothing has changed after all of this time How we have learned nothing from the pastI absolutely loved the transformation of Fleetwood from silly frivolous socialite to the mature woman willing to fight for her child and her friend Women will do that when they have the right influences to guide them and it was beautiful to see how Alice so uiet and unassuming could give the much needed confidence to Fleetwood not with magic but through friendship and care In the end this is a novel of historical fiction and it stays true to the story Twelve women were charged with witchcraft some were hanged one landed in stocks for a fortnight and one is released This is a wonderful imagining of their story one that I highly recommendThank you to Netgalley Harleuin Mira and StacyHalls for my advanced copy of TheFamiliars

summary × PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ´ 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 Justice means fairness Luck of prejudice I ve always loved Pendle Hill and the stories of the women who were accused of witchcraft during one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe The fascinating legends found a perfect home in Jeanette Winterson s The Daylight Gate a novel full of darkness raw beauty and folklore Stacey Hall s The Familiars is not as vicious as Winterson s masterpiece but it is no less poignant atmospheric and an absolutely beautiful novel fully doing justice to its dark themes of prejudice injustice and sheer violence against women Sadly these are issues that have not been extinguished in our world Centuries later we face the same dangers albeit wrapped in a different civilized packagePendle Hill and Malkin Tower are in the centre of attention in Fleetwood household She is the young wife of a noble house her mission to produce an heir a male heir let us not forget and things have not been going well Fleetwood is with child one chance to do her duty Her fortune brings her to Alive an eerie girl who seems to know nature and its gifts as well as an experienced wise woman Or as well as a witchThe witch hunt is in full swing under the reign of King James and Fleetwood has to face her husband s wrongdoings her fear for her pregnancy and the injustice against women who know Nature better than anyone I wouldn t wish a girl s life on anyone The Familiars are the spirits in objects and animals that act as replicas of the so called witches This belief lends the name to the title of this beautiful book that seems to be perfect Indeed I couldn t find a single feature that would have made me reconsider my rating The technical elements are brilliantly composed The era the dialogue the atmosphere of terror of suspicion and prejudice will captivate your heart from the first chapters This novel is an example of how a writer can create female protagonists that do not resemble any stereotype but are fully imagined and brought to life so realistically that the readers feel as if they re watching actual people of flesh and blood fighting for the right to have a voice This is why I won t tire you over technicalities What I feel the need to focus on is the exuisite treatment of the themes that make this novel such a beautiful and frightening experienceThe main theme reflected in the use of the witch hunt era as the setting is the position of women in a society that seems to take an almost orgasmic satisfaction in supporting every possible prejudice against them Men practice infidelity because it is their right Women are not even allowed to choose their own midwife Pregnancy becomes an obligation Something you must do because society tells you to And if you don t want children of your own everyone will look at you at best with apprehension and at worst with disgust I am using the Present tense intentionally because things haven t changed much Not as long as the Trumps of the world tell us what to do with our bodies and our own choices Religion and politics have always lent themselves as culprits of irrational actions dogmas have long been used as pretexts for absolute control over the fates of women Take the ridiculous Daemonologie written by King James as an example One of the most incompetent ludicrous monarchs of Europe that led dozens of women to their deathThere are men encouraged to feel superior by oppressing women because they feared their intelligence and independence Women bow to an absurd will and condemn other women because they are influenced by uneducated priests and are envious of the women who live their lives according to their rules without needing a man and a surname to sustain them or verify their existence These issues are still relevant to our world Many men cannot recognize women s right to euality Many women still need a man to verify their worth Flushing out certain parts of our anatomy on Instagram projecting ourselves as objects does not help This is not emancipation It is outright prostitution Let us not fear the words and speak clearlyWhat can be better than a Historical Fiction novel that prompts you to think of how universal and relevant certain issues are how vital in our daily experience This novel by Stacey Halls is like a heavy storm that has been brewing for hours Like the grey sky over Pendle Hill Like the fragile hope that comes with the arrival of a child in the world Do we not have eyes and ears like our husbands and the men who will condemn them Many thanks to MIRA and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest reviewMy reviews can also be found on


10 thoughts on “The Familiars

  1. says:

    The Familiars by Stacey Halls is a 2019 Mira publicationVery impressive debut novel Fleetwood Shuttleworth is once with child hoping this time she will be able to give her husband Richard the heir he is so desirous of But when she stu

  2. says:

    Four surprising witchy gothic also frustrating starsI cannot really believe in this is a debut novel because the story is so well crafted detailed and smartly written Well if it’s just first work of this writer I voluntarily like to read her future works So this is two women’s amazing fight and friendship story against all ignorance superstition judgmental and biased minds Fleetwood is afraid of losing her baby af

  3. says:

    ‘’Justice means fairness Luck of prejudice’’ I’ve always loved Pendle Hill and the stories of the women who were accused of witchcraft during one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe The fascinating legends found a perfect home in Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate a novel full of darkness raw beauty and folklore S

  4. says:

    The novel is based on true events Pendle Hill Witch Trials and most of the characters did exist although it was the Author's imagin

  5. says:

    The events described in the Familiars by Stacey Halls take place in the year 1612 Fleetwood is 17 years old and lives a lonely existence with her husband of 4 years in a gloomy isolated mansion in northern England She’s pregnant but has previously had problems with miscarriages She’s anxious to give birth successfully as Richard her husband is desperate for an heir The novel shines a light on the glaring misogyny of the times

  6. says:

    There are times when I get absolutely giddy over a book that I’ve just finished so much so that I start babbling to my

  7. says:

    What a wonderful Enchanting and captivating novel An unputdownable ripped from real life tale that kept me up late at night Having read Stacy Hall’s The Foundling I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Familiars and it certainly didn’t di

  8. says:

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || Pinterest I reuested this book because I was in a witchy mood and the concept of feminism and girl power set against the backdrop of the witch trials during the rule of King James appealed to me In case you didn't know King James was all about that witch hunting life He wrote a book

  9. says:

    Book Reviewed by Stacey on wwwwhisperingstoriescomThe Year 1612 Pendle Lancashire Seventeen Year Old Fleetwood Sh

  10. says:

    5☆ Spellbinding Superbly Written It Pulled Me In A Book that Will Stay with Me for a very long timeThere is only one word to really sum up THE

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