It's a while now since I picked up The Familiars by Stacey Halls in The Works. To be honest, I don't know what drew me to it, it certainly isn't a genre I'd usually choose but I'm so pleased I bought it as I really did enjoy it.
"In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all...
Lancashire, 1612, Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married and pregnant for the fourth time. But as mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, who promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby.
When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. As the legendary Pendle witch trials approach and Fleetwood's stomach continues to grow, time is running out and both their lives are at stake..."
This is a story of fiction set amongst the facts of the Pendle witch trials, of which I knew very little about. Since reading this book, I now want to learn more about the true stories of the Pendle witches and I'd love to visit the area in Lancashire where it all happened. Characters, places and events in the book are real but the story is not, but that doesn't make it feel any less real.
I really do need to step out of my comfort zone more where books are concerned. I find that the books I wouldn't usually reach for are some of the ones I enjoy the most. I'd definitely recommend this one.