THE BRAND NEW SERIES FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BEST SELLING AUTHOR.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster AU
Series: The Fairmile #1
Publication date: 20th August 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format read: Uncorrected proof Paperback
Source: courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading
Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast.
Alinor, a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband. Instead she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life.
Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbours. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.
England 1648 is a dangerous time for a woman especially if you have intelligence, beauty and determination.
Allinor is a herbalist, a healer just like her mother before her. However her skill with herbs and her outstanding beauty cause mistrust and jealousy. She is gossiped about as being a witch. With her husband missing she is left to bring up two children alone.
Tidelands is set during the last few months of King Charles I’s reign and a time of religious upheaval. It is troubled times in England and those troubles reach as far as the remote Tidelands.
The major part of the story is about the political unrest of the time and a plot to save the King. Allinor is unwittingly pulled into the danger when she helps a handsome stranger and falls in love.
Gregory deftly portrays the poverty and remoteness of Sealsea Island and through Allinor we see the life that women had to endure. With her husband missing she was neither wife nor widow. Her working hours were long and hard.
The plot is slow but immersive with the book spanning only 9 months it is a solid basis for the continuing saga. As the rest of the series unfolds we will have no doubt of the poverty and hardship these characters came from.
Philippa Gregory is a master story-teller. Her research and knowledge of the time period shines through in how effortlessly and smoothly the story flows.
A missing husband, a handsome priest; Tidelands is an unforgettable story of love, perseverance and danger.
My rating 4/5
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