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Tidelands Reader Reviews

Tidelands

christine woolfenden

A woman living in absolute poverty, a story of courage and love set amidst the turmoil of the English Civil War.

The first book in a new series and is as historically accurate as her Tudor and Plantagenet series. It is set in the 1640s, at the time of King Charles 1st and the Parliament of Cromwell. It tells the story of a woman called Alinor who lives in poverty but doesn't allow it to diminish her. It's a story of strength through adversity and holding true to oneself. She becomes involved with a rich young man, James Summer, who is a travelling priest engaged in a secret mission. However, Alinor is believed by the other villagers to possess some powers of witchcraft which makes her very afraid of what could happen. I loved Alinor's character, she is so complex and believable and I felt I was walking along beside her throughout the novel.

The story setting is in the Sussex marshes, an inhospitable place on the very edge of the sea which added to the rather bleak atmosphere. But through all this, Alinor's grit and determination to do better for herself and her children never wavers.

I really enjoyed this book and found that I got really engrossed in the fate of Alinor, especially at the end when I couldn't put it down. I look forward to reading the next book in the series to find out what awaits Alinor and her children.

Dana Captainino

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.

I will start with saying ‘I love this book’!

In a departure from Philippa Gregory’s usual formula where the main subjects are royalty or well-known historical figures, Tidelands focus is on ‘ordinary’ people struggling through whatever life throws at them.

Tidelands is set in the Sussex marshlands on the south coast in the late 1640s during the English Civil War. The main story centres on the poor but proud and strong Alinor whose wise woman mother has passed onto her the gift of healing.

Deserted by her violent husband Alinor is struggling to bring up her teenage children and improve their life chances against all odds. Throughout, her neighbours seesaw from desperately needing her help, especially in childbirth, to being overtly suspicious and hostile to her witch-like powers.

Alongside Alinor’s story is that of James, a young Catholic priest working for the Royalists to bring King Charles back to the throne in England. Their lives become entwined when Alinor leads James across the dangerous marsh to safety and there is no going back to what was before.

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.

As ever Philippa Gregory’s work is so well researched that the reader can smell the smells and hear the sounds as if they were at the centre of the story themselves.

Lynn Johnson

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.

When I pick up a Philippa Gregory novel, I know I am not going to be disappointed and this book was no exception. It is set in the 17th Century. England is in the grip of civil war, poverty is rife, plague is always a threat, and the unexplainable can only be explained by witchcraft. The story begins with Alinor, a descendant of wise women and James who, apparently, is not all he seems. I found it a little slow in places at first, but soon became involved with the characters. It is a time when it is ‘dangerous to be different.’ Rumours create stories of their own and the only defence seems to reinforce the guilt. 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. I was surprised to discover James’ response to Alinor’s problems, given his love for her. Of course, this is the first in a series and there will no doubt be many more problems for our protagonists to overcome. All in all, I am looking forward immensely to reading the next in the new Fairmile series.

Sarah Jones

Fantastic and full engaging. Can't wait to read the next in the series!

What a treat to be reading a new Philippa Gregory. Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed all of her books, it felt quite exciting to be starting a new time period. Set in the reign of King Charles I, this is the story of a widowed mother, Alinor, who is trying to survive in a world where being poor and being a woman is incredibly difficult. The historical background is that the King and Parliament are at odds over the ruling of the country and the faith in which people should follow. Alinor has to contend with her friendship with a clandestine Roman Catholic priest and her brother's ardent support for Parliament.

The imagery in this book was incredible. It wonderfully captured all the sights and sounds of the flat tidelands in Sussex and the fear of the unpredictable water. I really found myself transported to that place as the descriptions were so detailed and vivid. Fantastic characters and a nice change to read about the perspectives of ordinary people rather than the aristocracy Gregory has focussed on in a number of recent novels. I've since read that this is planned as the first of a trilogy and I can't wait to keep reading about the family. I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in historical fiction, but especially to anyone who wants to get drawn into a different world.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781471172755
Publication date: 20th February 2020
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 464 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Historical Fiction,
Categories: Historical fiction,