Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.
Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
I’m going to start off by saying this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I was looking for a story with some magic and super natural elements (I love fantasy) but I will tell you now, this isn’t that kind of book. That saying, I still really enjoyed it and found Halls to be an exceptional talent.
This is a story of two women who struggle with the challenges and trials women faced at a certain period. Of course our challenges as women are far from over but the fact that independent and free thinking women were accused to be witches and some girls, yes girls not women, were expected to marry and birth children at 14 (still occurs to this day I know but it was a lot more common practice back in the 17th Century) just shows how bad it was.
Halls brings us on a journey of two women who become the most unlikely of allies. It showcases the importance of friendship (no matter how unlikely) and being there for one another. Despite the challenges, prejudices and down right injustice that these women have to endure, they are determined to fight through it and go to extraordinary lengths to do so.
Despite this not being the story I hoped it was, it’s still beautifully written and an amazing debut. Halls completely immerses you in her world and the level of description and detail is outstanding. You can feel the ambiance in which our protagonist finds herself and you find yourself truly captivated at times. It’s rare to find an author who has mastered their voice and their craft so well on their first try.
Halls is an outstanding talent, I have The Foundling on my TBR and can’t wait to see what it has in store. The main reason I haven’t given this full marks is because I was hoping for a bit more of a supernatural story and I thought it would be a little more fast paced. There are hints of magic but it isn’t the sole focus of the book, this is historical fiction that is beautifully portrayed. I only learnt recently it’s based on some true places and events so I think if I had known that going in I may have looked at it differently.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
‘’I wouldn’t wish a girl’s life on anyone.’’
Not a very nice quote but it perfectly portrays how tough things could be for girls and women back then.
Alice, she was very enigmatic at times and I thought she was a very strong character.