England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . . .
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.
Praise for Philippa Gregory:
‘Popular historical fiction at its finest, immaculately researched and superbly told’ The Times
'Philippa Gregory is truly the mistress of the historical novel. It would be hard to make history more entertaining, lively or engaging' Sunday Express
‘Gregory has popularised Tudor history perhaps more than any other living fiction writer . . . All of her books feature strong, complex women, doing their best to improve their lives in worlds dominated by men’ Sunday Times
'Immaculate research, pacy narratives and a stubborn insistence that history is not only about men . . . a powerful reminder of how precarious the lives of the Tudor women could be' Daily Mail
‘Superb … A searing portrait of a woman that resonates across the ages’ People
‘This is Gregory par excellence. A promising start to a family saga about ordinary people’ Kirkus Reviews
‘A welcome topical pivot from gifted Gregory, the first entry in her promising Fairmile series sets the stage for a multigenerational, multivolume saga about the rise of a family from rags to riches’ Booklist
‘Dynamic ... History buffs and Gregory’s fans alike will be anticipating the next installment’ Publishers Weekly
‘Richly detailed and brimming with secrets’ Shelf Awareness
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In Tidelands, Philippa Gregory infuses historical fiction with a sharp, feminist edge. Set during the English Civil War in 1648, the book follows herbalist, midwife and mother Alinor, who defies those in power at the time. A former historian, Gregory’s novels are always fuelled by deep, exacting historical detail and this is no different. Containing many complex and fascinating characters, Tidelands is the first riveting novel in an ongoing series that will follow Alinor’s family through many generations.
Gregory (The Splendor Before the Dark) deviates from her usual focus on historical figures to shine a light on the plight of common women in 1640s England in the dynamic first book of her new Fairmile series. Alinor, a midwife with knowledge of herbal remedies, is in difficult circumstances. Her fisherman husband has been gone for months, and she must care for herself and her two growing children during a precarious time in England's history. King Charles, forced off his throne by Parliament, has been banished to the Isle of Wight following his defeat in civil war. It's also a period when a strong woman on her own, like the beautiful Alinor who has skills that others can't understand, can easily be accused of being a witch; the author cleverly plants such seeds of suspicion throughout. At the open, Alinor meets a handsome, young Catholic priest, a royals champion with the means to help the king escape. She helps the priest find a haven, and their ensuing romance has devastating consequences for both. Against the backdrop of political turmoil, Gregory's narrative displays the harrowing mores of the time, showcasing the vulnerability of women who speak their mind and introducing a family struggling out of poverty who will provide plenty of grist for the mill of a continuing saga. History buffs and Gregory's fans alike will be anticipating the next installment.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I’ve read a lot of Philippa Gregory’s books and loved every single one. This, on the other hand, was very very disappointing. The story itself was fascinating and had so much promise. But the excessive level of historical detail was a constant distraction from the story. A little bit of historical context relevant to the story is useful but I was left with the distinct impression that Philippa’s primary focus was parading her historical knowledge under the guise of a story. The story itself came in a poor second place and it really showed in the end. The end itself was incredibly disappointing. Made me regret reading the book. All that reading investment for that ending? It was as if Philippa woke one morning and decided she’d had enough of writing the book, yawned which resulted in an involuntary movement of her hand which in turn wrote the last paragraph. I’m now weary of reading anything new from this author,
Stupid ending. I have read all Phillipa Gregory books and I really dint enjoy this