The Familiars by Stacey Halls |YA Book Review by Raima Afsar
The Familiars by Stacey Halls revolves around Fleetwood Shuttleworth who is once again pregnant but in grave danger. Her husband receives a letter from her doctor where he clearly states how dangerous his wife’s delivery could be if she decides to keep the baby. In desperate need to give her husband an heir, Fleetwood Shuttleworth seeks the help of a midwife, called Alice Grey. Unfortunately for Fleetwood, Alice gets accused of witchcraft. Fleetwood crosses boundaries to free Alice. As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.
"It’s the story of every woman who has faced inequality and injustice in every way and any century." - #bookreview #thefamiliars
Stacey Halls hasn’t complicated the story with difficult prose and words, even though the story is set in the 17th Century. With simple writing, Halls has covered some pretty serious themes like injustice and brutality against women. With great regret and sadness, we still face such issues where women are silenced, abused and treated with disrespect. They are not given the rights to their own body as it’s portrayed by Halls; it’s Fleetwood’s “duty” to give an heir and at one point, she can’t even decide her own midwife.
The characters do not feel one dimensional and that’s one of the best parts of the book! You can empathize, understand, and feel for the female protagonists as they fight and struggle because this story isn’t about just two women fighting the pressures of the society. It’s the story of every woman who has faced inequality and injustice in every way and any century. These issues are relevant and relatable universally.
Photo and Review by Raima Afsar
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This article was originally printed in the Winter 2019 issue of Curiositales. If you would like to receive a free digital copy of the magazine, sign up for our newsletter at the top of this page! Then, confirm your email address (be sure to check your spam folder). Once you click the link in your welcome email, you'll get regular news from Curiositales, including notifications when the latest magazine is published. You can unsubscribe whenever you like. Or, you can read it for free here.
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