‘The Familiars’ by Stacey Halls

Set in seventeenth century Lancashire, this story follows Fleetwood Shuttleworth, seventeen years old and pregnant for the fourth time. The first three pregnancies have not born an heir for her impatient husband and she knows that carrying another child could kill her. By chance she meets a young girl, Alice Gray. With the skills of a midwife, Alice is a wise woman beyond her years, they will have to help each other in order to survive the trials ahead. This is historical fiction based on fact. The knowledge of herbs and plants was seen as witchcraft and women were not allowed to share their medical knowledge for fear of being cast out as a witch. It’s a debut novel for Halls, a native Lancastrian who has always been fascinated by the true story of the Pendle witches. A fascinating read about a real period in history.

Published by Zaffre  ISBN 1785766147

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