Love Gothicky Historical fiction based on true witchy tales? Then read on!
I’m ever the historical fiction fan, but it was the luscious cover of The Familiars that first caught my eye! I’m so glad it did.
I feel like I’ve absorbed historical stories my whole life, endlessly fascinated by the tales history has to tell. This novel is based on the true story of the Pendle Hill Witch Trials of 1612, and boy, its a ripper!
It’s the true story of noblewoman Fleetwood Shuttleworth, and her midwife, Alice Grey. They are caught up in King James I obsession with asserting power over the lawless countryside, ultimately manifesting in the frenzy of a witch hunt and trial. The target - poor women, guilty of nothing more than using the skills they have to care for the community around them.
Stacey Halls successfully uses a straightforward prose to take her reader on a slow twisty spine tingling Gothic journey. Her descriptions of place and time transports us straight back to be with these women and their 17th century lives. Which I have to say I do not envy.
I loved the way Halls used this engrossing historical moment to explore female friendship, and highlighted the witch hunts for what they were: women hunting.
If you’re a fan of Jessie Burton, Hannah Kent, Sarah Perry or any other the classic Gothic novels like ‘Rebecca’ or ‘Jane Eyre’, this one is for you.