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Stacey Halls

Autor(a) de The Familiars

4 Works 1,748 Membros 80 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Stacey Halls

Obras de Stacey Halls

The Familiars (2019) 917 cópias
The Foundling (2020) 468 cópias
Mrs England (2021) 338 cópias
The Household (2024) 25 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Rossendale, Lancashire



This is the debut historical fiction by English author Stacey Halls, a story set in Lancashire around the infamous, historic Pendle Hill Witch Trials of 1612.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth, is the young mistress of Gawthorpe Hall, and is struggling with her current pregnancy, knowing that the previous ones have ended in tragic miscarriages. Fleetwood hires local girl Alice Grey as a midwife to help her with the pregnancy. Soon the troubles that are brewing around them envelop Fleetwood and Alice and they find themselves fighting potentially life threatening accusations of witchcraft. Fleetwood must fight both to save her unborn child and her friend Alice’s life. She has to manage the limitations of her role as a woman in her dealings with both her husband Richard and his friend, the ambitious magistrate Roger. Roger is determined to impress King James by ridding Lancashire of witches, even if these are merely local midwives and healers, and the only evidence against them is that they have a familiar or animal companion, that no one has even actually seen.

I enjoyed this story and its historical context. The misogyny and total lack of logic is frustrating beyond belief, but reflects the dangerous reality of the times. Fleetwood is a fairly meek character but does her best, within the confines of her role, to fight against the injustices around her. I liked her close relationship with her dog and her insistence on her riding everywhere despite her pregnancy. This was a good read about female friendship and the dangers of living as a woman in a man’s world.
… (mais)
mimbza | outras 31 resenhas | May 8, 2024 |
What carried me through this novel was the nicely done reconstruction of Edwardian settings and interactions, any British historical background or bourgeois milieu from the XIX and XX centuries being a guilty pleasure of mine; pretty much like looking at a dolls' house as an adult, but with a story to go with the tiny furniture and characters.


This said, the focus of the story - what horrors men can make women endure, nearly without noticing any of the consequences but their own feelings, motives and needs - was a bit askew in its realisation. The point was obvious since the start, and well done for the ever so subtle insight into the creeping, silent expectation that an abused daughter needs justification for not wanting to address, forgive or see her father again; however, when it came to the disfunctional Englands, the narration fell short of conveying the effects of gaslighting on people around the victim. I never really believed the "good husband" deception, it all felt quite contrived when it came to the main plot - a nursery maid moving to an isolated wealthy family mansion and being drawn into the abusive household's secrets. The female characters, the nurse and the lady, felt real and likeable, but I could tell the big reveal since the start, and the psychological tricks and manipulations on the part of the husband never looked realistic to me.
All in all, there were a couple of powerful statements here and there, such as when Ruby, the protagonist, refuses to see her father just because she doesn't want to, without yielding to the temtation to justify herself further after all hhe had put her through; and I could feel her back straightening as if it were mine. But the writjng is discontinuous in defining characters and motivations, and this pulls the whole novel down from memorable feminist literature to mere entertainment.
… (mais)
Elanna76 | outras 16 resenhas | May 2, 2024 |
I have read all of Stacey Halls books and this one I found just ok. The story follows Angela Burdett-Coutts, a wealthy women who teams up with Charles Dickens. They open Uraian Cottage and house fallen women, ex prisoners and prostitutes for rehabilitation.

The story is based on true facts such as the cottage and Angela was a real person. I would say though a lot of fiction has been added such as the girls the story follows such as Martha and Josephine.

I found this book just ok. It plodded along and at times I felt not a lot happens. The story did pick up eventually especially towards the end.

I do enjoy fiction based on true events and knew nothing about Angela or the cottage at all. I know a little about Charles Dickens but he does hardly feature in this story.

Thank you to Readers First and the publisher for the book.
… (mais)
tina1969 | outras 4 resenhas | May 1, 2024 |
1847 and the novelist Charles Dickens has partnered with a philanthropic rich young women to set up a house in Shepherds Bush to rehabilitate female prisoners on release, to educate and train them to begin new lives in Australia but not as convicts. The Matron of the house is experienced and mostly the young women make excellent progress. Their benefactress, Angela, suffers herself from a stalker who haunts her and when one of the women, Martha, loses her sister it sets into place a chain of events that will change the lives of all involved.
It would have been so easy to make Charles Dickens the subject of this novel, as his founding of Urania Cottage is well-known. However, Halls has instead chosen to make this story about the difficult lives of young women in early Victorian England, the perils of being in service, the temptations of theft or prostitution for those without family support etc. It's a really good plot, meticulously researched and engaging to read.
… (mais)
pluckedhighbrow | outras 4 resenhas | Apr 17, 2024 |



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