I said at the end of last week’s post that I was going to return to reading the fantastic Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5) by Pierce Brown, which had been interrupted by my stroke in the Autumn. Somehow, that didn’t happen and that was because I was distracted by the book I am going to write about today…
…The Familiars by Stacey Hall! I was only going to check that I liked it before either renewing or returning it. Instead, I was completely gripped from the beginning and couldn’t stop reading. Anyway, this is the blurb:
Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn¹t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.
When she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.
When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?
As the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood¹s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.
Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
I commend this book to you and here is my Goodreads’ review:
This is such a beautifully written book. I loved the way that the main character, Fleetwood, developed throughout the book, becoming more courageous as the tale unfolded and also becoming more aware of how less fortunate people lived in the surrounding area. I was quite surprised when I realised her age, I must admit. The combination of blossoming understanding, new friendship and impending motherhood enabled her to achieve so much in pursuit of the truth and the evidence for that truth. Her ability to ride so well was quite astonishing too!
There was also a real feeling of impending doom, which was also very well-written, with menace from one important male character and disappointment in another. I also enjoyed how we were told more information about the mother towards the end. The historical background and scene setting was superbly done.
This was a real departure from my usual genres and I am really glad that I found the book. It fully deserves many accolades.
I actually award the book 4.999999999 stars!
Having finished this, I am not sure what I am going to read next. Unfortunately, I have been really ill over the last few days, both physically and mentally, and I am finding concentration very difficult. Proper reading is almost impossible. I hope that I can find some equilibrium very soon.
Happy Reading to you all!
Love and best wishes,