Review: Tidelands by Philippa Gregory

 

 

Title: Tidelands {Fairmile #1}

Author: Philippa Gregory

Published: August 20th 2019, Simon & Schuster Au

Status: Read August 2019, courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

Tidelands introduces a new series, Fairmile, from bestselling historical author Philippa Gregory.

“These are the tidelands: half tide, half land, good for nothing, all the way west to the New Forest, all the way east till the white cliffs.”

Set in the mid 1600’s, as the Parlimentarians/Anglicists and Royalists/Papists wrestle for control of England, Tidelands centres on Sealsea Island, off the coast of Sussex. It’s here in a small fishing hut that Alinor Reekie, ‘neither widow nor wife’, lives, earning just enough to keep body and soul together as a midwife, herbalist and healer. Her most fervent wish is to secure a better future for her children, twelve year old Rob, and thirteen year old Alys, a simple desire that seems improbable, but Alinor’s chance encounter with James, a young Catholic priest, seeking sanctuary could turn the tide for them all.

Unfolding from the shifting third person perspectives of Alinor and James, Tidelands is a bewitching story of love, desire, danger and betrayal.

It’s fair to say that though rich in description and detail, the story progresses little during the first third or more of the novel. Gregory relies somewhat heavily on foreshadowing to sustain the reader’s interest which means there are few surprises as the plot unfolds, yet I found the story engrossing, caught up in the vivid portrayal of a life and time unfamiliar to me.

“I did not know that there could be a woman like you, in a place like this.”

Key to this tale is the forbidden romance that develops between Alinor, and (Father) James Summers, the priest who also serves as a Royalist spy. James is intrigued by Alinor’s beauty and grace, qualities he never expected to find in an impoverished wisewoman, and Alinor unwisely allows herself to get swept away by the handsome young man’s sincere, if naive, interest. It’s not unsurprising, given the period and circumstances, that the relationship will end badly for at least one, and perhaps both of them.

“It’s a crime to be poor in this county; it’s a sin to be old. It’s never good to be a woman.”

Of course, Alinor will always be the one with the most to lose. Already, as a woman abandoned by her husband, envied for her beauty, and regarded warily for her skill as a wisewoman, which some equate with witchery, she is regularly the subject of suspicion, rumour and innuendo in her small community. Any failing, or error in judgement, could cost her not only her reputation, but also her life. Gregory does a wonderful job of exploring the vulnerability of women during this time period, especially a woman like Alinor who wants more than society believes she has a right too.

“It matters to me. I matter: in this, I matter.”

Beautifully written, well researched, atmospheric and interesting, Tidelands is a captivating novel I enjoyed much more than I expected to.

Read an Excerpt

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Indiebound I Book Depository

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. popple58
    Aug 22, 2019 @ 06:34:04

    Good review – thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Carole
    Aug 22, 2019 @ 11:39:39

    This sounds really well done. I had an offer for this book and I really wanted to read it but I knew that I wasn’t going to have the time. Sounds like I need to try to get my hands on a copy from the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. 1girl2manybooks
    Aug 23, 2019 @ 16:13:31

    I have this one to read too!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Beth F
    Aug 24, 2019 @ 00:58:56

    Sounds like a good one, despite the foreshadowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  6. Tracey (Carpe Librum blog)
    Aug 26, 2019 @ 23:27:18

    Glad you enjoyed this one too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Lisa
    Aug 27, 2019 @ 00:19:24

    I’m glad I read your review — for some reason, I’d been thinking this was a reissue of an older book. Sounds really interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. Erin @ Cracker Crumb Life
    Aug 27, 2019 @ 06:22:22

    This is a great review! I definitely want to read it now!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s