Book Review: The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory

This is the second book in the ‘Wideacre’ Trilogy and after reading the first book, I was eager to know how the story unfolds in this book.

‘The Favored Child’ follows Beatrice Lacey’s two children, Julia and Richard. As they grow up together in the now bankrupt Wideacre estate raised by their aunt, they are mostly oblivious of the atrocities of their birth parents until they discover the secrets and betrayals buried in Wideacre and how they represent all that has been stolen from the poor villagers who worked the land for the Laceys for generations and have been cheated out again and again.

This was quite an intriguing and captivating read which I enjoyed much more that the first book. I guess the fact that Julia Lacey was at least a somewhat likable protagonist compared to her mother is the most evident reason for my preference but also this book seemed to clearly bring to fore the major themes that the author was trying to address such as the oppression of the poor by the gentry in those times, the oppression of women by their husbands and the impact of toxic relationships in the lives of people who are victims. Although it seems like society has evolved since then, it is still evident that these themes are still prevalent and relevant in today’s world. Despite the fact that almost all the characters were hardly likable (with Richard topping the list), the author’s writing and story telling technique is so exquisite that it transports you into their lives and you are literally in Wideacre screaming at Julia to stand up for herself or runaway or whatever it is you think she should do. To crown it all, the end leaves you desperate to know what will happen next, how will it pan out for the next generation of the Laceys. This excites me.

I loved it to say the least and I would recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. However, take note that this is a hard core story with murder, incest, sex and the likes, therefore if you do not have the stomach for such themes please do not read this book.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Published: December 3rd 2001 by Harper Collins (first published 1989)

Pages: 629

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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