Thursday 1 June 2023

Book Review: Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory



Philippa Gregory

A King in trouble. A country divided. A woman determined.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 15th November 2022
Series: The Fairmile #3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 544
RRP: $32.99AU (paperback) 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review of Dawnlands

Dawnlands, set in 17th century England, is the third book in The Fairmile series.
Dark Tides ended with Alys and Alinor settled in their merchant business on the wharves in London and Alinor's brother, Ned Ferryman, living in America.

As with the previous two books there is a large gap of time between this book and the previous book. Having the books set in different time frames allows them to be read well as standalone.

Ned is leaving America to join the rise against King James II. The native American Pokanoket people have been enslaved and are being sent to the sugar farms in Barbados.

I love how Gregory mixes history and fiction and as you read it on the page it feels like her characters are real and were part of the downfall of James II.
Livia is back and scheming her way into the young Queen's favour to garner position for herself and her son. The character of Livia will not disappoint! She is beautiful, charismatic and evil. No act was too low for her if it meant bettering her position in life.

Dawnlands is a story of tyranny, greed, slavery and the fight for equality and freedom. The slavery and conditions on the sugar farms was an eye-opening addition to the story, showing the greed and cruelty of plantation owners. Apart from the cruelty we also get the thoughts of 'good white folk' who thought slavery was fine as long as you treated them well, thinking they were actually doing these people a favour.

Gregory states that Dawnlands took three years to write and I think it was well worth the wait. Her writing is captivating and it flows effortlessly from one scene to the next with each point of view being just as interesting as the last.

An extensive bibliography shows that the novel was thoroughly researched.

Bringing a new generation into the story with Alys's granddaughters and Rob's daughter makes me feel like this series won't be ending here!

Trades done, deals made, slaves entrenched, intrigue abounded, loves lost and a King overthrown; Dawnlands is a must read!
My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Philippa Gregory is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognised authority on women's history.
Many of her works have been adapted for the screen.

Reviews of other books in this series:


  1. I find her books a bit hit and miss but will give this a go. Cheers

    1. I didn't like the first in this series as much as books 2 & 3 but now I'm so invested in the characters I'm eager for more.