Book Review: Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

This has been a long time coming. Philippa Gregory is my favorite historical fiction author and her books are the most I have of a single author in my library. However, I have found myself gravitate towards her stories about the royal family more and I believe this is why it has taken me so long to get to read this book which I bought a couple of years ago.

‘Wideacre’ is the coming of age story told in first person POV by Beatrice Lacey the protagonist and the daughter of the Squire/owner of the Wideacre estate. Set in the Georgian era when men owned everything and women were only born to be married off and died penniless, Beatrice Lacey had other plans for her life. Beatrice’s attachment and thereafter obsession with her ancestral home drives her into a series of unbelievable acts that may end up taking away the very thing she has fought so hard to keep. This is a story about deceit, lies, murder, ambition and power.

This is a poignant and gripping story that enveloped my whole being from start to finish. Although this story and most of it’s characters are as dark as they come, it was so well written, the narrative so fluid and vivid that it was as if I was right there on Wideacre. This is why I love this author’s work to bits and this book was no exception. Beatrice is one of those characters that you would dislike yet be curious about her motivations and actions. This story features so many atrocities most people may not be able to stomach but I am hooked and would therefore proceed to the second book in the trilogy. If there is any take-away from here it would be the fact that sometimes, ambition can lead you to ruin.

This was a good read and I would recommend but if you are triggered by rape, incest, murder and very graphic sexual activity, then I would advise you to approach this book with caution.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: November 5th 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (first published April 1st 1987)

Pages: 642

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Author:

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author. Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings. Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells. A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

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