The #1 New York Times bestselling author and “one of the great storytellers of our time” (San Francisco Book Review) turns from the glamour of the royal courts to tell the story of an ordinary woman, Alinor, who cannot bear to conform to the life that lies before her.
Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, England is in the grip of a civil war between renegade king and rebellious parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even the remote tidelands —the marshy landscape of the south coast.
Alinor, a descendant of wisewomen, trapped in 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 neighbors. 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.
It is dangerous for a woman to be different.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We loved reading Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen. With Tidelands, the British historical novelist leaves the world of royalty behind, turning her attention to a story of poverty, superstition, forbidden love—and the difficulties of being a woman and single mother in 1648 England. Gregory’s heroine, Alinor, is scraping by as an herbalist and midwife, despite rumors that she’s a witch. Then she crosses paths with James, a young priest who needs a hideout from the civil war that’s raging outside Alinor’s small coastal village. The couple’s story moves from calm, still waters to a raging swell, climaxing in an intense and astonishing ending. And it’s all packed with Gregory’s trademark deep historical research.