Our Book Of The Month for October is The Familiars by Stacey Halls. For our online Book Clubbers we have some questions around the book for you to get involved with. Either answer below or use as discussion points at your next Book Club. Happy Book Clubbing!
The Familiars – The Blurb
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.
The following are written with the presumption you have read The Familiars. If you haven’t, bookmark the post for now so you can come back and answer the questions later.
- Do you think Alice is a witch? Did your belief change throughout the course of the book?
- Did you ever think Fleetwood was a witch? After all she had ‘her familiar’, Puck who drank her blood…
- What did you think of Richard? Was he a romantic hero? a villain? Could you forgive him as Fleetwood had by the end?
- It is only at the end in the Historical Note that we discover the characters are real, albeit The Familiars is a work of fiction. Did this add an extra dimension to your liking of the book? What real life event would like to see as a setting to a book?
- Even though The Familiars is centered around the Pendle witch trials, in the end Halls steers the book away from witchcraft. This is very much Fleetwood’s story, her pregnancy, her marriage, her friendship with Alice. Did you agree with this decision? Would you like to have read more about the trials?
Feel free to answer as many of the questions as you like, it’s not an all or nothing thing. Post your replies below, discuss with us on social media using @BookSocialUK, or pose some questions of your own. If you enjoyed answering our questions, have a go at our last month’s Get Involved: The President is Missing.
And come back tomorrow to read our #BigReview of The Familiars.