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2017 – WHOLE year without buying books

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Paula Brackston

Too familiar?

BOOK FEELINGS: If you are an avid (or even occasional) reader you’ll know that last year I reviewed ‘The Witch’s Daughter’ by Paula Brackston and  I LOVED IT. There was so much to like and enjoy, so when the opportunity to read another story full of witch trials that is also based on a true story I jumped at the chance.

1bd8426d-1a4d-44e9-8c6c-1b9c087d6778._CR0,0,3455,3455_PT0_SX220__ ‘The Familiars’ by Stacey Halls starts well, we meet Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a nineteen-year-old pregnant for the fourth time yet still childless. She is under pressure from her much older husband for a son and all Fleetwood wants is for this child to survive.

She’s only been married 4 years when she finds herself horrified that her husband is keeping secrets and a mistress. There is only so much obedience she can take and then on a day she takes a rebellious ride through the woods she meets Alice who might just be the answer to her problems.

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Fleetwood knows she is isolated and needs someone on her side and as her relationship with Alice builds in respect and trust, she feels further and further away from Richard. Finding a Doctors note that changes her life is the turning point in the book. Is her midwife actually a witch? Can they both survive so she can bring this pregnancy to term? Will Richard forgive her?

I try and be honest with you Dear Reader, so I’m going to call a spade a spade. This book starts with such promise and intrigue but as it goes on, there isn’t enough tension, the sub-plots don’t add to the narrative and I struggled to finish it. Some people might love it, others will hate it but I am a bit indifferent. I’ve read better, I’ve definitely read worse.

The rugby is on and after that, I’m going to finish the final book in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series. Happy Reading

 

Mystery, unctions and time travel…what more could you want?

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BOOK FEELINGS: To be honest with you Dear reader, I bought this a very long time ago (Dec 2105 according to audible) and for some reason never got round to listening to it. Maybe I forgot, maybe I tried and didn’t like it, or maybe I just didn’t feel like it, but for whatever reason it just sat there, unlistened to for nearly 3 years and last week I saw it sitting there, not lonely but alone and I pressed play. I was sucked in immediately, I wanted more and need to know why Bess was running from Guidian!

After a run of murder mysteries, this is a definite change of pace. The story jumps through time, Bess and her family living and not so much surviving the plague, Elizabeth selling tinctures and unctions (which is just such a great word) at her local market in the modern age and Eliza being a Dr in the age of medical discovery. We hear of her adventures of immortality and why she has survived so long, the toll it had taken in her and why this time she’s getting close to another.

In the modern narrative, Elizabeth begrudgingly befriends a local teenage girl, Teagan, who appears to have no friends in the village and finds her company tolerable. Over the year they become closer and Elizabeth shares her history, although Teagan doesn’t realize the Bess of the witch trials is the same as the Elizabeth sitting in front of her. How close will she get to knowing the truth? Will she commit to her studies and become a young witch or will she be distracted by a boy? Will this apprenticeship risk Elizabeth’s sanctuary? Will Guidian finally catch up with her?

I like Bess, I like her brashness and her honesty. I find that I hold some people at a distance in the same way and it is nice to see a relatable character with the same traits. I wanted to know all her lives, I wanted to her escapes and how she honed her craft. I like that you know her struggle with the dark arts but it’s not the main story-line. I like that there is more to the series…51U6d59WKfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

The truth is, Dear reader this book is captivating, researched and great for bus journeys when you know you won’t be disturbed. If I could have sat still and stayed awake for the whole story in one go I would have done.

The conclusion is satisfactory and resolved but you know there is more to explore if you wanted. The narrative is so vivid and alive and despite being set in a particular part of the country (not mine) I still looked for a woman seeing Basil oil at the market this morning, just in case.

Happy Reading.

 

 

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