Saturday, August 24, 2019

Review: Tidelands (The Fairmile #1) by Philippa Gregory


 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 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.

Paperback, 448 pages
 Published August 20th, 2019
 by Simon & Schuster

Philippa Gregory ‘s The Other Boleyn Girl is what made me fall in love with historical fiction. I continued reading parts of her Tudor Series and The White Queen series but over time her style changed and I missed the depth and writing style that kept me glued to the pages. With this new series coming I was a little nervous to start but seeing the 400 plus pages and in an era I am unfamiliar with I was ready to give her another go.

The first 30 pages of Tidelands gave me a vivid picture of the tidelands, the marsh, the paths, and tides. By the time I got through 120 pages, I seriously wondered what the point was, nothing was happening and I was ready to call it quits - I was bored, I couldn’t find the plot and honestly none of the characters spoke to me.

Simon & Schuster graciously provided me with an ARC and I wanted to review before publication date (which was 3 days ago). Given that it took me 2 weeks to plow through 120 pages I was in trouble. I had some driving to do and thought to grab the audiobook (via Scribd) and see if that would help. Whether it was a coincidence that the story actually picked up or the reader added that missing spark I finally was invested. With a day full of appointments I alternated between reading and listening and finished this book off lickety-split. It turned into an interesting story and being the first in series the ending was fitting, opening the door to the next chapter.

With the King Charles/Cromwell conflict England is changing.  Like i said before I don't know the history of this conflict and reading Tidelands has peaked my interest.  Being a woman on your own is hard enough but add suspicious neighbors, gossip run amok and a missing husband Alinor has her hands full. By the end i came to connect with Alinor and her kids, I’m anxious to read what happens next.

There were no author notes in my copy and I missed that. I would have loved to know if Sealsea is a real place as well as the characters.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for an ARC in exchange for honest review

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