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Awash with atmosphere, passion and suspense, this first novel in a new series by the mistress of popular historical fiction is an immersive, entertaining, feminist-spirited feast.
Impoverished midwife and herbalist healer Alinor goes to a graveyard on Midsummer Eve wondering if she might find the ghost of her missing abusive husband. Instead she encounters James, a wealthy, handsome man who will change the course of her life. With England in the throes of civil war, James is a fugitive and Alinor puts herself at risk to take him across the dangerous marsh to his place of sanctuary. James cannot comprehend meeting “a woman like you in a place like this”, words that ignite Alinor’s heart and soul through her otherwise bleak existence: “I am bound as a tenant to a neglectful lord and I cannot leave. I am wife to a vanished man and cannot marry, and I am sister to the ferryman and he will never carry me across to the mainland and set me free”.
While helping James does lift Alinor from the mire, the tongues of local gossip women and bawdy men are set wagging, threatening her very existence and her daughter’s shot at a new life, and wise Alinor knows only too well that “no woman is innocent… Everything is our fault: sin and death are at our door, from now to Judgment Day”.
The love story and evocation of time and place are utterly enthralling but, most of all, this is a dazzlingly compelling portrait of a complex, dignified woman standing strong and proud against the cruel confines of her class and sex.
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.
Closing date: 29/02/2020
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
A woman living in absolute poverty, a story of courage and love set amidst the turmoil of the English Civil War. Full review
The magnetism between them is strong but their different backgrounds make it impossible and as the story unfolds the suspicion surrounding Alinor increases culminating in a vicious and disturbing conclusion. Full review
Drawn into a world of superstition and intrigue, Alinor and James have a chemistry developing between them which neither can do anything about, and which both may come to regret. Full review
'The first in a planned series . . . The author crafts her material with effortless ease. Her grasp of social mores is brilliant, the love story rings true and the research is, as ever, of the highest calibre' Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail
'Vivid and beguiling - Philippa Gregory at her best' woman&home
'A compelling novel that shines a light on the struggles of 17th century women' Daily Mirror
'The novel's power lies in Gregory's evocative portrayal of the tidelands and the everyday lives of those who are bound to them' Sunday Express
'Philippa Gregory returns with an English Civil War novel that excels in everything she does best. Historical events are written with breathless immediacy, keeping the reader enthralled even if they know the outcome. She pays close attention to the plight of women in the past, so often unchanged despite men's wars, and gives them a voice . . . Fans will not be disappointed' Alys Key, The i
'Shines a light on the struggles of 17th century women . . . If this novel is the first sign of what's to come then readers are in for a treat' Emma Lee-Potter, Daily Express
'Tidelands evokes a world of suspense and superstition. Its fascinating fictional heroine, Alinor, is caught in a net of in-between spaces . . . I was completely swept up in this wonderful, immersive story set in the English Civil War when women who lived unconventional lives risked being accused of witchcraft' Tina Jackson, Writing Magazine
Publication date: 20/02/2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publication date: 20/08/2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
|Publication date:||20th February 2020|
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Ltd|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Historical Fiction,|
Philippa Gregory was our Guest Editor in October 2011 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing. Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the international bestseller The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a major film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Several books later, she is looking at the family that precedes The Tudors in the The Cousins' War series, which was televised by the BBC as The White Queen. Philippa's other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty ...More About Philippa Gregory