From #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory comes the stunning first novel of a thrilling trilogy about the Lacey family, and the captivating woman at the heart of a power-hungry estate willing to go to any means to protect her family name.
Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her heritage and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral name. Seduction, betrayal, even murder—Beatrice’s passion is without apology or conscience. “She is a Lacey of Wideacre,” her father warns, “and whatever she does, however she behaves, will always be fitting.” Yet even as Beatrice’s scheming seems about to yield her dream, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extent of her plans...and her capacity for evil.
Sumptuously set in Georgian England from the “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY), Wideacre is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of color and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistible in its singular magic as its heroine.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We love historical novelist Philippa Gregory for her exhaustively researched stories about the lives and loves of strong English noblewomen across the centuries. Which is part of what makes her 1987 debut such a surprise. This tongue-in-cheek pastiche of trashy 19th-century potboilers is a wickedly fun romp with a fascinatingly awful antiheroine. Strong-willed young Beatrice Lacey loves Wideacre, the elegant estate her father manages. She never wants to leave—and that’s a problem, since in Georgian England, women can’t own land and she’s expected to marry and go be a docile wife and mother somewhere else. Because Beatrice believes she’s the heroine of her own story, everything she does to gain control of Wideacre—manipulation, lying, even incest and murder—somehow feels perfectly justified. Gregory gets us fully on board with her sociopathic heroine from the get-go, making Wideacre an enjoyably creepy read. If you’re curious what Flowers in the Attic would be like written by the Brontë sisters, this novel’s for you!
Gregory's full-blown first novel is a marvelously assured period piece, an English gothic with narrative verve. Beatrice Lacey loves nothing more than the family estate, Wideacrenot her bluff, hearty father, her weak brother, Harry, or her mother, who can't quite believe mounting evidence that damns her passionate daughter. Foiled in her hunger to own the estate by the 18th century laws of entail, Beatrice plots her father's death, knowing she can twist Harry in any direction she chooses, for her brother harbors a dark, perverted secret. Their incestuous tangle is not broken even by Harry's marriage. And while a bounteous harvest multiplies, no one gainsays the young squire and his sister, the true master of Wideacre. Beatrice marries also, managing to hide the paternity of two children sired by Harry until her increasing greed squeezes the land and its people dry, and the seeds of destruction she has sown come to their awful fruition. Gregory effortlessly breathes color and life into a tale of obsession built around a ruthless, fascinating woman. Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild alternate; major ad/promo.
Best book I've read in a very long time!!!!!
I wish Philippa would write more books in this series. Wideacre was just outstanding!