book cover of The Familiars
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The Familiars

A novel by

Betty Trask Award Best First Novel (nominee)
“Assured and alluring, this beautiful tale of women, witchcraft and the fight against power is a delight.” —Jessie Burton, New York Times–bestselling author

In 1612 Lancaster, England, the hunt for witches has reached a fever pitch . . .

But in a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman may be the greatest risk of all.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth, the mistress of Pendle Hill’s Gawthorpe Hall, is with child. Anxious to produce an heir, she is distraught to find a letter from her physician that warns her husband she will not survive this pregnancy.

Devastated, Fleetwood wanders the estate grounds, where she catches a young woman poaching. Alice Gray claims she is a local midwife and promises to help Fleetwood deliver a healthy baby. But a witch-obsessed frenzy sweeps the countryside. Even woodland creatures or “familiars” are thought to be dark companions of the unholy. And Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Time is running out. The witch trials are about to begin. With both their lives at stake, Fleetwood must prove Alice’s innocence. Only they know the truth.

Set against the real Pendle witch trials, this compelling novel draws its characters from historical figures as it explores the lives of seventeenth-century women. Ultimately it raises the question: Was witch hunting really just women hunting?

“A rich and atmospheric reimagining of a historical period rife with religious tensions, superstitions, misogyny and fear.” —The New York Times Book Review

“An intricate and sensitive portrayal of a brave, tenacious young girl carving her place in the world. A must-read novel.” —Heather Morris, #1 New York Times–bestselling author

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Assured and alluring, this beautiful tale of women and witchcraft and the fight against power was a delight from start to finish." - Jessie Burton

"Fast-paced, twisty and immense fun." - Anna Mazzola

"The Familiars is an intricate and sensitive portrayal of a brave, tenacious young girl carving her place in the world. A must-read novel." - Heather Morris

"I read this in just over a day - I was completely hooked! An intriguing story about a fascinating period of history and brilliant female characters." - Libby Page

"So pacy and brilliantly creepy." - Juliet West

"A wonderful novel, enthralling, spellbinding, terrifying, full of twists and turns, written with heart and style - and the final chapters will have you racing to the end. A brilliant novel about a true story - and a real mystery." - Kate Williams

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