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The Familiars

Narrated by: Katy Sobey
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

To save her child, she will trust a stranger. To protect a secret, she must risk her life....

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 isn't supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy. 

Then 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. 

As 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? 

Soon the two women's lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood's 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.

©2019 Stacey Halls (P)2019 Bonnier Books UK

Critic Reviews

"Assured and alluring, this beautiful tale of women and witchcraft and the fight against power was a delight from start to finish." (Jessie Burton, best-selling author of The Miniaturist)

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What listeners say about The Familiars

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loved it

a book about my home town and the famous witch trials. great historical accuracy and characters built around fact. well narrated.

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excellent!

I really enjoyed this story. well written and beautifully performed. I would reccomend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

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Loved it...

This book has me wanting to listen to it non-stop. The story was amazing and will have you laughing one moment, crying the next and thing what the... A few minutes later. Narration is great and helps you get caught up in the story. This is one of those... Some times truth is wilder than fiction.

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loved it.

I live the story arc and how the true events of the time are woven into the fictional story.

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lovely

A nice easy listen. it certainly transported me into the era. Not as much whimsy as I expected but very well written and read.

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More family drama than historical fiction

As a story based on real people and true events during one of the most terrifying times in history for women I expected more atmosphere. This is a story about husbands, wives, neighbours and babies with a backdrop of witches and misogyny. It was certainly entertaining but not what I was expecting.

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  • Rebecca
  • 07-08-2019

Wonderful book and beautifully read!

Living in Clitheroe so close to Pendle Hill, the stories about the Pendle witches are not just fable, but our vivid history. It was so lovely to hear such a beautiful fictional account of it and so eloquently read too. I will be reading the book as well.

35 people found this helpful

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  • R W
  • 22-04-2019

Captivating

A perfect collaboration between historical accuracy and insightful narrative. I listened to The Familiars on a car trip with my 12 year old daughter. We were both absolutely captivated by this story, brilliantly narrated and written with an insight, passion and flair that is mesmerizing. My daughter loved learning about the Pendle witch trials and I was on the edge of my seat as the plot and characters continued to surprise me with each chapter. Stacey Halls just became my new favourite author, her perfectly smooth and sharp hand is beyond anything I have read for ages.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Chevonne Hobbs
  • 23-05-2019

A wonderful tale of mysteries that gently unfold.

A lovely novel and a number of moments that are brilliantly articulated that makes you feel like you're in the room with the characters. Moments that will make you feel gobsmacked and some that make you cry as you feel the emotion.

22 people found this helpful

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  • claudib00
  • 19-06-2019

Great story based loosely on reality, I enjoyed

loved it and couldn't wait to find out what happened in the end. recommended light read

17 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 11-08-2019

Great read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narration was brilliant. I’m fascinated by this part of history and so this was right up my street. I loved Fleetwood and Alice. This book really portrays strong women and bravery and determination. The same struggles that have gone on throughout history. It also shows the greed of some men for power. If you’re interested in the Pendle witches and history, then you’ll enjoy this book.

14 people found this helpful

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  • SuzieC
  • 14-04-2019

Storytelling at its best

A Beautifully written book; the writer is gifted in the art of storytelling and I was thoroughly impressed with the way that historical fact and some authentic fiction were intertwined. A delight to read (despite the Sad subject matter) as the writing is compelling. I thought that the role of women in society was fascinating and drew many comparisons with today. I shall seek out more from this author

27 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Ann
  • 16-04-2019

Simply wonderful!

I really enjoyed listening to this book and kept going back for more chapters until I finished it in a couple of days. I know the story of the Pendle Witches and have visited Pendle Hill and read factual books on the trials and also was lucky enough to meet the fascinating Simon Entwhistle who is an expert on the subject. This book is historically accurate and the author has done her research very well and ended up with a story that, although fiction, is based on historical reality and thus entirely believable. The characters are very well portrayed as was the era which was a difficult time for women. As a first novel it's excellent and I will keep an eye out for more from this author. Simply wonderful.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-2019

Great story

Really good audiobook I was hooked from the start. Great twist at the end which I did not expect!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Bel
  • 22-08-2019

Great book, wonderful narration

A wonderful book about a horrible time and affair. Katy Sobey does a great job narrating it. It drew me in right from the start, and it made me look up the Pendle witches.I may read Thomas Potts's "The Discovery of Witches" next. I love it when a book educates me while entertaining and fascinating me at the same time. This novel certainly scores high on all accounts. If you're interested in a very dark age,read this book (or rather listen to it).

5 people found this helpful

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  • Eden
  • 07-08-2019

Beautifully written story

I loved the artwork on the front cover of this book which is what drew me to it... what a wonderful find! I was captivated from the start. Well worth a listen, one of my favourites to date - I didn’t want it to end!

10 people found this helpful