08 February 2019

Review: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

The Familiars by Stacey Halls book cover
RRP $29.99 AUD
Published 4 February 2019
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

The Familiars by Stacey Halls is an historical fiction tale featuring Fleetwood Shuttleworth in the time of the Pendle witch trials of 1612. Based on real characters from history in Lancashire England, Fleetwood is 17 years old, married and and pregnant again after failing to carry her three previous pregnancies to term.

Fleetwood is mistress at Gawthorpe Hall and meets Alice Gray, a wise woman and midwife. Alice agrees to help Fleetwood deliver her baby safely but soon finds herself swept up in accusations of witchcraft.

Despite being fiction, I love that the characters, locations and events in The Familiars were based on historical fact. It was a fascinating insight into the period and the characters and I was instantly caught up in their stories. Fleetwood and Alice depend on each other for survival and their plight highlights the limitations placed on women at the time and the ridiculous accusations - and fear - of witchcraft.

If that wasn't enough, The Familiars is a physically stunning book. I adore the cover design with bronze foiling, forest foliage and the spot UV noose that encircles our main character. The title page and map immediately dropped me into the time period and the images of the fox and sprigs of lavender throughout the novel kept the level of enchantment full to overflowing.

It's not often that an unsolicited book from a publisher results in a five star reading experience, but The Familiars by Stacey Halls is an exception to the rule. I absolutely loved it!

Highly recommended.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Lovely review and as you know, I agree entirely! 😊

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  2. Thanks Theresa, this is such a great book, isn't it?

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  3. You're very welcome Davida, I hope you decide to check it out. It's a great read.

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  4. The cover is so gorgeous that it would make me buy the book.

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  5. I agree Laura, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and fortunately the story within lives up to the great cover design.

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Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!