The Familiars

The Familiars

3.89 (30,735 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
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Description

From the Author of the Sunday Times Bestseller, Mrs. England!

In 1612 Lancaster, England, the hunt for witches has reached a fever pitch...

But in a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman may be the greatest risk of all.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth, the mistress of Pendle Hill's Gawthorpe Hall, is with child. Anxious to produce an heir, she is distraught to find a letter from her physician that warns her husband she will not survive this pregnancy.

Devastated, Fleetwood wanders the estate grounds, where she catches a young woman poaching. Alice Gray claims she is a local midwife and promises to help Fleetwood deliver a healthy baby. But a witch-obsessed frenzy sweeps the countryside. Even woodland creatures or "familiars" are thought to be dark companions of the unholy. And Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Time is running out. The witch trials are about to begin. With both their lives at stake, Fleetwood must prove Alice's innocence. Only they know the truth.

Set against the real Pendle witch trials, this compelling novel draws its characters from historical figures as it explores the lives of seventeenth-century women. Ultimately it raises the question: Was witch hunting really just women hunting?
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 150 x 226 x 38mm | 499g
  • English
  • Original ed.
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0778369188
  • 9780778369189
  • 640,629

Review quote

The new Hilary Mantel!--Cosmopolitan

An intricate and sensitive portrayal of a brave, tenacious young girl carving her place in the world. A must-read novel.-Heather Morris, bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Assured and alluring, this beautiful tale of women, witchcraft and the fight against power is a delight.-Jessie Burton, NYT bestselling author of The Miniaturist

A rich and atmospheric reimagining of a historical period rife with religious tensions, superstitions, misogyny and fear....Now with so many high profile men claiming to be victims of a witch hunt, it's good to understand what a real one feels like. New York Times Book Review

Rich with intrigue and filled with details of the constraints faced by seventeenth-century women, both well born and common, The Familiars offers a look into the real-life world of the notorious Pendle witch trials that ended with 11 executions.-Booklist

The lives of two young women intersect in a novel that imagines the story behind a famous 17th-century witch trial ... [when] acting in socially inappropriate ways could get one condemned to hanging.-Kirkus Reviews

Spellbinding...it will suck you right into the prose and hold you there, like a witch with a powerful charm. --All About Romance

Set against the furor leading up to the Pendle Witch Trials, Halls's winning novel is a quietly powerful and richly evocative tale.-- Publishers Weekly
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Rating details

30,735 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 26% (7,893)
4 44% (13,518)
3 25% (7,642)
2 5% (1,442)
1 1% (240)
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