February 24, 2020

The Familiars

Reviewed by Sukhy Cooke at Mrs Cooke’s Books

Zaffre (Feb 19)
ISBN: 9781785766114

About Sukhy…

I live in a small village in Warwickshire with my husband, our two young children and a rather grumpy ginger cat.

I set up my blog almost exactly a year ago as I love to read but also love to write (an aspiring writer) so what better way to combine my two hobbies!  I read anything from thriller to romance and everything in between.  I hope one day to put pen to paper for my own book!


“I freely admit to being seduced by the mystical allure of this novel: I was totally, utterly and obliviously lost in it…”

– Mrs Cooke’s Books

The Familiars by Stacey HALLS

Firstly, I think that this book has one of the most seductive covers I’ve ever seen; so beautifully detailed with the eye-catching gold foil.  Secondly, I’ll make it clear from the beginning: I was genuinely spellbound by this novel and The Familiars is easily my 2019 book of the year. This book is everything.

Halls tells us Fleetwood’s tale in a beautiful, almost musical narrative which is steeped in mystery and surrounded by suspense. Fleetwood’s world is unashamedly opulent. We are enveloped in sumptuous feasts, decadent clothing and reds, blues and emerald greens punctuated by rings and rubies. This is in stark contrast to Alice’s life of greys and browns and dirty whites.

Fleetwood has a lot to deal with, and despite already being married, this also feels like a “coming-of-age” novel.  Fleetwood embarks on a journey to grow up and stand up for herself.  She also manages to find the meaning of true friendship. Teamed up with her magnificent canine friend, a fiercely loyal Tibetan Mastiff called Puck, the formidable Fleetwood becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Halls cleverly creates a moody, misty and murky atmosphere.  It is spooky and eerie and evokes ominous, shuddery feelings and a shimmering sense of foreboding from the very beginning.

I freely admit to being seduced by the mystical allure of this novel: I was totally, utterly and obliviously lost in it. The Familiars is sultry and seductive and full of so much witchy goodness.

Dogs, horses, witches, a spiky mother-in-law, and a suspicious husband; this book has it all.  Every time I see the auburn flash of a foxtail (fairly frequently) I think back to this book and all of the wonderful autumnal feelings it evokes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find myself a Tibetan Mastiff so I can live my best life, Fleetwood Style.


nb 103/SPRING

The Book to Screen Issue

All our NB Book Blogger’s and their reviews above will be printed in our upcoming Book to Screen issue!

From leading interviews with Isabel Allende to investigating what makes a book perfect material for a Netflix series with Sarah Pinborough, subscribe to NB today to access top literary news, reviews and features!