THE FAMILIARS by Stacey Halls – book review

I am in love with the cover of this book. I have seen it in store and was tempted to buy it but I chose “The Forty Rules of Love” instead. Somehow, I couldn’t get it out of my head so I had to order it online in Waterstones.

As soon as I finished my current read, I had to start this one. It had an energy that pushed me towards it so I left behind all my TBR pile. I can’t say I regret it. This was yet another incredible read this year.

It seems almost unbelievable that “THE FAMILIARS” is the debut novel of Stacey Halls . It is a flawless read that transported me in the 1612s in the reign of James, in a time of suspicion and accusation when, being a woman was the greatest risk of all.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is a seventeen year old married girl, pregnant for the fourth time and hoping to manage to deliver a live baby to her eager husband. Her fear reaches high limits when she finds a letter from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, stating that she will not be able to survive another pregnancy.

She meets Alice Gray on one of her horse travels through the woods. By chance, Alice is a midwife and she promises lady Shuttleworth to help her bring a healthy baby to life and prove the doctor wrong. But the times are difficult and Alice is accused of witchcraft and taken to the goals to be hanged. Fleetwood is determined to help her friend and risks everything to get what she wants, convinced that the only person who can save her life as well is Alice. The story is complicated, adventurous and at times frightening. The two women become bound to each other and the birth of the baby is imminent, just like Alice’s execution. It all becomes a race for life and finding the truth and rehabilitating Alice’s name is essential for Fleetwood and her unborn child.

I can describe THE FAMILIARS as a story of friendship, trust, betrayal, love and justice. An unpotdownable novel that deserves all the stars in the Galaxy. The characters are all intriguing and interesting and the story itself is based on real historical events of the notorious trials of the Pendle Witches. It is an homage to those women falsely accused and condemned by men. It is a story that will stay with me for a very long time and will recommend every time I have the chance.

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