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Ratings and Book Reviews (8 45 star ratings
8 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.4 out of 5
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Fabulous new series!

    I was totally blown away by this first book in Philippa Gregory's new series The fairmile. It takes place during England's civil war but unlike her other series the story dwells not on royalty but on a common woman name Alinor a descendant of wise women barely surviving in poverty with 2 children and a man, James, who she meets one night in secret. Though she knows its dangerous she saves his life, not once but twice, but what will happen when those rumours of witchcraft begin to spread about Alinor? As I said I totally loved this book and can't wait for 2nd book!!!
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    A history of our ancestors

    The book that I have been most looking forward to reading this year is Tidelands by Philippa Gregory. While Gregory has quite a reputation for her historical fiction about royalty, my favorite has long been The Lady of the Rivers, who is just the mother of a queen. I was hoping Tidelands would be more like The Lady of the Rivers, and I am delighted to say that it was. What I liked most about this story is the sense of the place and time that Philippa Gregory does so well. I could see the tidelands clearly in my mind, and I felt like I knew Alinor and her children well. Even her brother’s dog was a memorable character. And the plot about these people isolated at the end of the country was interesting as it intersected the political world. One of the main characters, James Summer, was a spy for the Royalists and we see King Charles I as a character, though only briefly. I liked the fact that even though the main character is a poor woman, we are still learning about what is going on in politics. And how those things effect all people and can unite and divide them. And I am excited that this is going to be a series about the ordinary people that most of us call our ancestors. Overall, Tidelands is a very quiet story, in that there is not really all that much that happens, and yet, so much happens. My main criticism is that there are things that get repetitive, Alinor especially repeats things all the time. Sometimes for Alinor it is a means of rehearsing good things, or reinforcing an important narrative. But sometimes the repetition with nothing added gets to be a bit too much and you wish for something new to happen in the plot, instead of just waiting, waiting. A second criticism is that the chapters are very uneven (at least in my ARC, maybe they fixed that in the final version). There were chapters that would take 2 minutes to read and one that was 2.5 hours long on my ebook reader. I couldn’t really understand the chapter divisions, and the 2.5 hour long one seemed like an editing error. In summary, if you are looking for a book with a lot of excitement and action, this isn’t the book for you. There is some tension throughout the book, which is what kept me reading, so I wouldn’t call it boring, it just isn’t high drama. So, if unplugging and enjoying history is your jam or you are already a Philippa Gregory fan, this is a good one. I received an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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    Well written

    This story had the potential to turn into one of the typical "woman pines for man who treats her poorly" novels but Gregory doesn't let that happen. A refreshing tale of love, loss and struggle in times past.
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    Gripping

    It was gripping. Interesting to see tbe different perspectives of the time.
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    What happens now?

    "Don't forget where you are, who you are. Nothing changes here but the waters. The rest of the country can run mad, turn upside down, but here only the sea changes daily and only the mire goes where it will." Goodwife Alinor Reekie gets unwitting pulled into a situation when she helps hide a papist spy in the Tidelands, setting off a series of things that may change not only her family, but her country in the middle of a civil war. Her neighbors, seeing how she and her children's' fortunes turn towards the better, are extremely suspicious, as Alinor, who'd never really followed the rules, is determined to make a better life for all if them. But how can life get any worse for an abandoned midwife living in a rundown cottage near the water she fears so much? And then there's James, the conscripted spy, whose unending acceptance of the tasks placed before him gets harder when Alinor helps him out. The whole situation takes his vows of faith, obedience and chastity to task. Discouragement drives his responses, except when it comes to Alinor. What could go wrong? Everything in an area where witches, ghosts and fairies are still the norm even after The Church of England has banished the idea. If the villagers discover Goodwife Reekie's biggest secret, it could mean her death. At over 400 pages, this is a very long book. In true Gregory style, her research is flawless. However, her choice of a lowborn "non entity" instead of an English royal is what makes it different, and promises of generations of Alinor's family in other books drives the reader to want to know more. I truly loved this book and can hardly wait for sequels hinted in the author's notes in the back of the book. Highly Recommended 5/5 [disclaimer: I received this book in a Goodreads/Atria Books give away and voluntarily read and reviewed it]
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