The Familiars by Stacey Halls

The Familiars

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 accused of witchcraft.Is there more to Alice ...

Details The Familiars

TitleThe Familiars
Release DateFeb 19th, 2019
PublisherMira Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Paranormal, Witches, Fantasy

Reviews The Familiars

  • Amalia Gavea
    ‘’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 poignan...
  • Beata
    The novel is based on true events, Pendle Hill Witch Trials, and most of the characters did exist, although it was the Author's imagination that directed their actions. The story revolves around a noblewoman, Fleetwood Shutterworth who is expected to provide her husband with an heir. She miscarages several times, and one day, when pregnant again, she meets a local woman, Alice Grey, who has a knowledge of the herbs and skills which may help Fleet...
  • Mackey
    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 Familiars.Are you familiar with familiars? Yes, I know. I’m part Scottish so these things are embedded into my DNA b...
  • Whispering Stories
    Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.comThe 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 l...
  • Miriam Smith
    "The Familiars" written by Stacey Halls is a story based on a true historical timeline and real life people, namely Fleetwood Shuttleworth born in 1595, who was a woman of gentry and mistress at Gawthorpe Hall. It is a work of fiction based on the premise of the Pendle witch trial in Lancaster 1612 and sadly highlights the plight of women disproportionately targeted as part of witch hunts during the time period set. I'm generally not drawn to the...
  • Umut Reviews
    It started well and exciting, but didn't follow through with a solid story and plot. So, it's not for me.
  • Rebecca
    Solid historical fiction for readers of Jane Harris and especially Martine Bailey. The language – especially the dialogue, even when trying to be relatable and/or coy – didn’t always strike me as right for the time period (e.g. “Hot and bothered, I went downstairs” and “They burn witches, don’t they?”). In any case, it’s a more accessible take on the Pendle witches history than Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, with the ...
  • Olivia-Savannah Roach
    I was quite excited to read The Familiars because the more I heard about it, the more it sounded like my kind of book. And it was a good read in the end, which made me so happy!What I loved most about this book was the atmosphere. The author definitely managed to create the mysterious, nature-filled and dark feel to the setting which worked so perfectly alongside the witch-y, haunting storyline. I felt like I slowly being immersed in the time per...
  • Katie.dorny
    I loved this. Please spread the word about this book I don’t want it going under the radar!!The history background, the sweeping narrative, the character progression and unearthing of secrets - the whole thing was a magical journey I was swept away in.Also, the characters are real, admittedly their stories are embellished but they overall arc is true.We meet Fleetwood Shuttleworth as a newly married 17 year old pregnant for the fourth time. We ...
  • Vivian
    Trading horses, time of DNF: 20%From the blurb about a young gentlewoman in England during the 17th century witch scares, this should have been a strong contender for me. I like the narrative of mass hysteria, scapegoating, and women burning for fear. Alas, not so much.I was not a fan of the first person point of view. It was intimate, but it trapped me inside a boring person. Uneducated, meek, and unguided in life makes Fleetwood Shuttleworth ra...
  • Kate
    As soon as I met Fleetwood Shuttleworth, I fell for her. She's based on a true person - this isn't a name you'd easily think up - but this is her fictional story. Fleetwood was mistress at the grand house of Gawthorpe in 1612, the time and (nearby) place of the infamous Pendle witch trials. The so-called witches do feature here but the glory of The Familiars is its portrayal of this 17-year-old girl, already on her second marriage and already pre...
  • Tati
    If this is going to be the most spellbinding debut of 2019, I fear for the next year.Fleetwood was too weak a character, I felt. She wasn't interesting enough to keep the story going. I do realize that those were different times, and that women were supposed to be meek and obey their husbands. But even in her thoughts she was a pushover. And for someone who keeps riding all over the place to be this meek didn't sit right with me to be honest.The ...
  • Anne ✨
    (3.5) The backdrop for this debut historical fiction novel is 1612 Pendle, Lancashire, and the "Pendle Hill Witch Trials" , where twelve women were accused of being witches, put on trial, and ten found guilty. The author includes some of the real historical figures in the story.In the story, a young bride, Fleetwood Shuttleworth, is pregnant, and seeks out a midwife, Alice Grey, to assist her in trying to keep her baby to term after suffering mul...
  • Thebooktrail
    Visit the locations in the novelI do love a historical read when there’s a potent mix of fact and fiction. The Familiars immersed me right at the heart of the Pendle Witch trials of 1612 and explored the people, the feelings, the social mores and the ‘justice system’ of the time. That cover caught my attention from the start, but the novel didn’t disappoint.Many of the characters in the novel are real-life figures,. The main one is the ve...
  • Theresa Smith
    ‘“Fleetwood have you knowledge of familiar spirits?” I shook my head. “Then I will direct you to the book of Leviticus. In short, it’s the Devil in disguise. An instrument, if you will, to enlarge his kingdom…they can appear as anything: an animal, a child. It appears to her when she needs it to do her bidding. A familiar is the surest sign of a witch.”’The legend of the Pendle witches is the most notorious witch trial of the 17th...
  • Rachel Hall
    Eminently readable historical fiction marred by a dubious heroine and lack of atmosphere.Stacey Halls debut historical novel is a fictionalised account of the Pendle witch trials in 17th-century Lancashire and with a cast of characters drawn from real-life events and a plucky young heroine in seventeen-year-old Fleetwood Shuttleworth challenging the perceptions of the era, it should have had all the ingredients for a gripping drama. 1612 and the ...
  • Robin Bonne
    I stuck with this book hoping that the protagonist, Fleetwood, would find her voice. Her character did not evolve and grow as much as she could have, which left me feeling unsatisfied after I finished the book.
  • Karen Kay
    I received this from in exchange for a review. Set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Based on real history. In an era where women were to be seen and not heard, Fleetwood Shuttleworth knows the women are falsely accused of witchery and goes to great lengths, even to endanger herself and unborn ...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    This book was based on the Pendleton Witch Trials and created a fictional explanation for why one accused witch, Alice Grey, was acquitted. I found a few things in the book a little hard to swallow, though. For one, the drastic change in the main character’s personality and her outspokenness as a woman in the 1600s. For another, almost everyone was literate. Otherwise, the plot seemed plausible but wasn’t terribly exciting. Good narration on ...
  • Jennifer
    4.25🌟Really enjoyed this book. One or two slight quibbles, one being there wasn't enough about the Pendle Witches but to be fair I am pretty obsessed by them and James' persecution of 'witches' in general.An intresting and involving read for most of the book...another slight niggle...maybe the last quarter wasn't as strong as what went before but overall, 4 solid ⭐.
  • Beadyjan
    I concur with all the great reviews I've seen for this title. It held me firmly in its grip from start to finish and never let go.It is a quite terrifying indictment of how powerless women were, and were expected to be, in an age when men held all the power and quite literally had the power of life and death over women with the capacity to dominate women and decide their fate, just because they were male and could get away with anything.I found t...
  • Jen (
    Originally reviewed on shitbookreviews.comI got this as a preview copy from the nice people at Netgalley. I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not 💜---TL;DR – The Familiars is a binge-worthy book which should make you mad and full of joy all at the same time. The Familiars made me use the highlight function on my Kindle. A function I’d never seen the point in using before because surely nothing would resonate ...
  • Megan
    A solid piece of historical fiction that centers on a female friendship. I was hoping for a bit more witchcraft, but still, the story drew me in.
  • Jo
    Set on the periphery of the case of the Pendle Witches of 1612, this is the story of Fleetwood Shuttleworth who is 17, wed and pregnant. She is scared witless that she will die in childbirth but feels she's found a saviour in midwife Alice. When Alice is arrested for witchcraft, Fleetwood is determined to prove her innocence. This was a fantastic debut and Halls made the characters leap off the page and almost into reality. I've read one or two a...
  • Εvdokia Veloudou
    Thank you to Bonnier & Zaffre for providing me with a finished copy of this book. I love it that I went into this book expecting nothing and getting so much of it. That’s the best kind of read. ‘The Familiars’ was that kind of book for me. It gave me so much, without even knowing I wanted to. The story takes place in 1612, at a time when King James I of England (King James IV of Scotland) was at the throne. It was a well-known fact that Ki...
  • Eleanor Slater
    This book has a slow build but once it gets going (which is really only by part 3... you do have to be patient) it is addictive as heck! Thankfully I was on a never ending train journey so could whip on through to the end. I really enjoyed the setting and surrounding characters in this novel, although the central lady did drive me a little nuts at times with her riddiculous priorities and pettiness. All in all it was an enjoyable read, I will hap...