The Familiars

Stacey Halls

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?

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Lancashire, 1612. Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 and expecting for the fourth time. All her previous pregnancies have ended in miscarriage and Fleetwood is close to despair. Then she meets a young midwife who promises to deliver her a healthy baby. But both women are soon sucked into the witchcraft hysteria that grips the local community – and now it may not only be Fleetwood’s unborn child whose life hangs in the balance.  

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