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Preview Reviews: Tidelands by Philippa Gregory

September 11, 2019

Our most recent Preview was Tidelands by Philippa Gregory, a rich and engaging historical fiction set in England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . . .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.

Read our Preview Reviews.

As a fan of historical fiction I was looking forward to reading a Philippa Gregory book, I mean her name is everywhere … on the television, media, social media and of course the bookstores. And I can say ‘Tidelands’ her new series did not disappoint as being my first book by her. You can tell Philippa does her research. Imagine living back in England, 1648 in the midst of a civil war between the King and Parliament and how dangerous being a poor woman raising two children would be. Reading ‘Tidelands’ put me in right there and what an adventure I had. Philippa’s story telling had me intrigued from the very beginning and her descriptions of daily life and the surroundings were beautifully written and made you feel like you were there. The characters were well developed and I loved Alinor from the start, and what a dangerous life she had. I’m glad her abusive husband disappeared but leaving her with nothing to raise her two children with all the hurdles thrown at her was not fair. She was also suspected of being a witch due to her expertise at herbal remedies and as a midwife. But hey, that’s what made the story. Really enjoyed ‘Tidelands” and now looking forward to reading more of Philippa Gregory’s work. – Maria, SA, 4 stars

I’m a huge fan of Philippa Gregory’s Plantagenet and Tudor novels written in the first person and from a woman’s point of view, so I was very interested in reading this new book. There was enough of the English Civil War history to send me off finding more about Charles I, his family and fate. The relationship between the two main characters made my heart break for their love, and also be angry with the ridiculous religious beliefs and Upper Class expectations of the time. I began by falling in love with Father James’ dashing good looks and passion and disliking Alinor’s daughter Alys somewhat but by the last page had completely turned around those thoughts. I really liked this book, I loved the strength and independence of Alinor and Alys and the love and respect they had for each other. I especially loved the way Alys spoke, her fiery and sometimes flippant attitude. So my wish for a historical novel containing Royal history, strong women and a love story all came to fruition. – Yvette, WA, 4 stars

Tidelands is both a departure and a return for Gregory. She is revisiting her earlier style of exploring history through the lens of fictional (and common) characters. But the scope of this series is perhaps more ambitious—setting out to chart the rise of a family from the lower echelons of society during the English Civil War. Fans of her Tudor novels will enjoy the attention to detail and vivid recreation of the time and landscape. It reads a little slow to begin with but if you’re willing to invest the time, this really does set the scene and atmosphere for what will be a rip-roaring series to come. I loved this book—it actually gave me a bit of a Moorland Dynasty vibe (Cynthia Harrod-Eagles). It’s one of those reads where the characters grab you and you need to know what happens to them. Be warned…it ends on a cliff-hanger that will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for book two! – Annie, QLD, 5 stars

This is the first book that I’ve read of Phillippa Gregory’s and I can honestly say it will not be the last! It was extremely well written tantalising the senses with her imagery. The characters are perfect! You either love them or hate them. Some parts are a little slow but it pays to work through them it all helps to build the setting. I was lucky enough to be given this book to review and to be honest it wouldn’t have been one that I would’ve chosen personally but I am so glad I was given this opportunity for it has now broadened my horizons of reading! I loved the historical setting making me so glad I live in this time and age giving me a new appreciation of historical novels. I can’t wait for the second instalment! – Katrina, QLD, 4 stars

One of the things I love about Philippa Gregory novels is how she combines history with fiction and Tidelands is no exception. The world Gregory writes about is vivid containing rich details regarding the past. Her characters may be fictional but their troubles are real. I have never been happier to live in the present day. Alinor is an interesting and strong young woman who has to survive in difficult times when a woman is judged based in her marital status and her husband less state leaves her vulnerable. Plot wise I found this book a little slow to warm up. There’s a lot of information in the first half which dragged the pace slightly. But once things got going this book was captivating and I was hooked. The characters are interesting and I felt invested in their lives. Tidelands is the perfect read for fans of historical fiction with a romantic edge. 3.5 stars – Kate, QLD, 3 stars

Tidelands was my fist experience with Philippa Gregory and it definitely won’t be my last, a wonderful historic saga. Gregory’s descriptive writing style places you straight into the English Tidelands. From the very first page I was enthralled in the world of Alinor a women living in the harsh English Tidelands in 1648 when her country is at war with itself. When Alinor’s husband does missing She finds herself alone trying to raise her children in a poverty stricken home. A chance meeting with a mysterious stranger will set in motion Alinor’s assent from poverty but not without danger. In a time of uncertainty will Alinor’s secret bring danger and suspicion to herself and her family? – Deanne, VIC, 4 stars

Set in the mid 1600’s at the height of the English civil war, King Charles 1 is imprisoned, Cromwells’s forces are in charge, and those who still say Mass do so in private, at risk of death if discovered. Charles 1’s exiled queen, and son plot to rescue him and restore the monarchy to its rightful place. It’s into this scenario that we meet the Reekie family, Alinor, deserted by her abusive husband Zachary, and her children, Alys and Robert. It’s a time when women healers and midwives are venerated for their skill, but rumours abound that those skills are faerie given, and it takes little for a healer to be labelled witch and “tested”. Unwillingly Alinor is drawn into the conflict between Crown and Parliament as a chance meeting stirs feelings never before experienced. At times the level of detail to set the scene was overwhelming and caused the book to move too slowly. But the twists and turns kept the reader engaged. Overall, a fascinating read of how the politics of the day impacted on those just trying to survive in the harsh lands. This is the first book in a proposed series following the fortunes of Alinor. – Marcia, SA, 4 stars

Philippa Gregory is one of my favourite authors and her latest novel, Tidelands, does not disappoint. There are many things to love about the book but, in particular, the central character of Alinor was inspiring. Like many women living in England in the 1600’s, she lacks power and wealth, dependent on a husband for status. However, she is a devoted mother and despite finding herself in dire circumstances, she works tirelessly to ensure her children will have a better future. Philippa Gregory’s books are always so well researched that you quickly become immersed in the story. Unlike her Tudor novels, this book focuses not on the lives of the wealthy royal families of England, but rather on a poor family living in the marshy swamps in the south coast of England. Along with being entertained by a good story, we learn a lot about how the ordinary people of that time struggled to survive, especially with the superstitions and fears of witchcraft which plagued daily life. The novel ends with a cliffhanger that has me waiting on edge for the next book! – Debra, QLD, 5 stars

Witchcraft, romance, history. TIDELANDS has it all. Gregory writes beautifully and really transports you back in time. I look forward to future installments. Fans of Gregory’s Tudor series will be pleased and new readers will be enthralled. – Alyssa, TAS, 4 stars

Allinor is a herbalist, a healer just like her mother before her. However her skill with herbs and her outstanding beauty cause mistrust and jealousy. She is gossiped about as being a witch. Tidelands is set during the last few months of King Charles I’s reign. It is troubled times in England and those troubles reach as far as the remote Tidelands. Gregory’s research and knowledge of the time period shines through in how effortlessly and smoothly the story flows. The major part of the story is about the political unrest of the time and a plot to save the King. Allinor is unwittingly pulled into the danger when she helps a handsome stranger and falls in love. Gregory deftly portrays the poverty and remoteness of Sealsea Island and through Allinor we see the life that women had to endure. With her husband missing she was neither wife nor widow. Her working hours were long and hard. The plot is slow but immersive with the book spanning only 9 months it is a solid basis for the continuing saga. As the rest of the series unfolds we will have no doubt of the poverty and hardship these characters came from. – Veronica, NSW, 4 stars

Having read quite a few of Philippa Gregory’s books occupying her usual literary domain (historical fiction centring on famous, often royal figures), I was intrigued by Tidelands, which instead focuses on the fictionalised Alinor, a character developed from Gregory’s research into women’s lives in England in the mid-1600s. A poor woman used to hard work, Alinor knows the treacherous tidelands well but is somewhat naive about the nuances of the civil war against which the story is set. Initially I found it hard to get into (a first with Gregory’s books) due to laboured descriptions of the landscape in the first chapter. After the first 40 pages however, the characters and their complex links to one another took centre stage and it became a real page turner. As with all her books, Gregory’s vivid writing evokes an immersive, genuine sense of time and place, and you invest emotionally in her characters – particularly the female protagonist, and particularly when she’s in trouble! If you haven’t read Philippa Gregory before, I’d start with one of her accounts of royalty, but for fans, Tidelands is a great way to indulge a different world with this talented writer. – Lara, VIC, 4 stars

Tidelands is a well written book for lovers of historical fiction. The setting is moody and a bit depressing but the strength of character of Alinor was uplifting and the storey is not one I will forget in a hurry. Living a harsh life of poverty and the suspicion of her neighbours, Alinor’s life points to dark times in history that I found thoroughly engrossing to read. – Rachel, QLD, 5 stars

This book made me remember why I love historical fiction. The top-level research combined with such rich story-telling left me wanting more and I’m hoping we won’t have to wait to long for the second instalment. In the meantime I’ll be reaching for more by Philippa Gregory. – Emma, VIC, 4 stars

Tidelands by Philippa Gregory is a lovely historical novel set during England’s Civil War. This was a slow but enjoyable read for me. Alinor is a very strong character that I greatly admired, she perseveres through incredible circumstances that are beyond her control. Tidelands reminded me that, as a woman, I am very lucky to live in modern times! This is not normally my cup of tea, but I’m glad that I read Tidelands because I thoroughly enjoyed it. 4 stars. – Cassandra QLD, 4 stars.

Tidelands transports you to another time with it’s rich detail and meticulous research. Quite different from other Philippa Gregory books, which focuses on the lives of royalty, this novel depicts the story of a poor family and how their lives are affected by those around them. Whilst Tidelands starts of slow with abundance of detail that perfectly mirrors mundane life, it gradually builds momentum and sets up well for the next novel in the series. This is a great start to the series, filled with drama, political upheaval, intriguing characters and a fascinating portrayal of superstition and fear in British history. I look forward to the release of the second novel and recommend Tidelands for fans of historical fiction and Philippa Gregory. Thanks to Better Reading Australia and Simon & Schuster Australia for providing an advanced copy for review – Maridel, NSW, 4 stars

I want to start by saying that historical fiction is not a genre on high rotation for me and I have never read a Philippa Gregory novel however she seems to have a cult following and I have heard such great things about her novels that I was excited to get a copy of her latest, Tidelands in my hands. Tidelands is set in 1684 and follows the life of Alinor, a poverty stricken, superstitious healer with two children and an absent abusive husband. I found the read to be quite slow to begin with to the point where if I wasn’t aware of Gregory’s reputation as an author I may have put it down. I did however find that it was so well researched that this could have contributed to the pace of book. I am glad I stuck it out as I was curious to see what would come of Alinor and her family and found towards the end of the book that the pace quickened and ended with quite a climactic ending. Gregory has clearly set this novel up to be part of a series and I will definitely pick up the next book to follow the journey of Alinor. Whilst this read has left me slightly unsatisfied I am happy to have found Philippa Gregory and might have to get my hands on her Tudor series. 3 stars. – Hannah, NT, 3 stars

Tidelands by Phillipa Gregory draws you in to the world of 17th century England and the life of Alinor, a poor women with two children and a missing husband, living in the remote tidelands. The book highlights the struggles and predjuces of the people of the day through key characters and how they respond to a number of difficult situations. The book starts with a sense of the supernatural, with Alinor wanting answers and but things don’t go as expected and her life changes from that moment forward, the story grows to include romance and drama with many challenges facing our heroine. Philippa Gregory truely draws you into the life of Alinor and her struggles as a women of that time. I would recommend this book to any fan of the historical fiction genre and a must read for all Philippa Gregory fans. – Kathryn, NSW, 4 stars

As a regular reader of historical novels, I have sometimes wondered which period I’d like to have lived in. Philippa Gregory’s new title ‘Tidelands’ (the first in a proposed series) makes me very glad not to have been around in mid seventeenth century England, as the reign of Charles 1 was coming to an end. The central character, Alinor Reekie, is a midwife and herbalist, who ekes out a precarious living on the tidal flats of south west England. She’s a bit ‘different’ so is viewed with suspicion by others, until they need her skills. Gregory describes the lives of the poor (especially women) in intriguing detail. She also gives the reader an understanding of the very specific geography of the area, bringing it vividly to life. Alinor faces a range of challenges with courage and resourcefulness, aware of the inequality in society and reluctant to conform to the social norms. I didn’t know much about Charles 1, except that he lost his head. The circumstances leading up to his execution are brought vividly to life. Gregory has done meticulous research and laid the groundwork for what should be a fascinating series. And I have come to the conclusion that being an Australian woman in 2019 is pretty good. – Penny, VIC, 4 stars

Wow what a wonderful book. Loved every page turning moment of this book. Full of wonderful characters and a wonderful story line. The depth of the description of the characters made me feel as if I was there and could relate to each and everyone of them. I loved the history of the story and how the story and each character developed through out. Found it very hard to put this book down. Loved every minute of it and would highly recommend it. – Christine, QLD, 5 stars

Set in 1648, ‘Tidelands’ by Phillipa Gregory is a powerful story not only of the class system amongst the people of this time, but also the vicious events effected against women, often instigated by other women. Firmly entwined in this story is life during the Second English Civil War, which saw Parliamentarians pitched against Royalists. We come to know Alinor very well, along with her lowly status in life and the ensuing treatment by her betters. It’s also a very dangerous time for a woman to be using one’s knowledge of herbs and their healing powers or to have her husband away, perhaps lost, for so long. How Alinor is swept up in the presence of James, a significant player in the civil war, makes for an enthralling tale; where the reader keeps saying ‘One more chapter’ before putting the book down. At times it was frustrating to read the injustice accepted by the characters, but the reader must remember this is an earlier time and society were comforted by these injustices; everyone was kept in their place and the world moved as it should. Even family are held to these societal norms, often with sad consequences. Many thanks to Better Reading and Simon and Schuster for this ARC. – Merilyn, WA, 4 stars

One of the most enthralling historical novels I have read. A spine chilling account of what life was like for women in the 1600s, a reminder of how far we have come as a human race and a reminder of how far we still have to go in achieving equality for all. I can not wait for the next chapter! – Diane, SA, 5 stars

Intriguing historical romance that kept you wanting more even beyond the last page, i want to know more. I hope there is another book soon – Sally, VIC, 4 stars

The main character Alinor was a poor fisherman’s wife who had many hardships to face through the novel. The historical detail is entertaining and informative and the plot is well paced. Alinor’s neighbours fear and envy lead to an exciting last few pages of the book. – Gaye, NSW, 4 stars

Thank you Better Reading for this advanced copy of Philippa Gregory’s latest novel Tidelands for an honest review. I’m always excited to read Gregory’s novels, the research she puts into these historical books always delights me with its richness & accuracy. It is set in England in 1648 & as the front cover says, it’s a dangerous time for a woman to be different. In the midst of a Civil War between the King & Parliament, Goodie Reekie must defend her abilities against jealous & superstitious towns people, raise her children & struggle for every cent to provide for her family. Throw in her love for a priest fighting to free the king, a husband who deserted her & a brother who fights for those who oppose the king & you have the first of a series that leaves us with a gripping cliffhanger of a witch trial that will leave us holding our breath until the next instalment. #BRPreview – Penne, NSW, 4 stars

This story is set in 1648 England, in the midst of the Civil War between the King and Parliament. It is evident that a lot of research went into writing this book and retelling the history. It is unfathomable how women were treated in the past and the injustice of power was unfair. I have been making my way through Phillipa Gregory’s Tudor series and was excited to read this latest novel which certainly does not disappoint. Phillipa Gregory is a master at historical fiction. Tidelands includes a little bit of everything…drama, secrets, power and forbidden love. Gregory creates strong and complex female leads who show their independence in a world dominated by males. I look forward to reading the entire series and hope that it becomes just as big as her Tudor series. – Alexis, VIC, 5 stars

In contrast to Philippa Gregory’s usual royal subjects, Tidelands is a tale of a humble woman constrained by her poverty, trying to eke out an existence for herself and her two children on the edge of the marshlands in civil war England. Alinor is a midwife, herbalist, and wise woman, whose beauty, skills and knowledge evoke envy and suspicion despite her abject poverty. The narrow-minded meanness of her neighbours, particularly the women, and the constraints and suspicions of the puritan church-dictated society are in direct contrast to Alinor’s inherent goodness and unwavering compassion. Unfortunately, as throughout history, knowledgeable and unique women such as Alinor suffer betrayal and hatred at the hands of ignorant and bigoted ordinary folk. Tidelands is Alinor’s story and as with her persona, the development of her character shines above all others. The other “character” attaining equivalent prominence is the titular tidelands. I loved that the hidden currents of the brooding, turbulent and perilous environment that dictates the lives of all who inhabit the marshes mirrors the society in which Alinor lives. – Fenella, NSW, 5 stars

Once again Philippa Gregory draws you into this moody and dark time in history by weaving an enthralling tale that one can imagine really did occur in the 1600’s. This genre is not usually my most preferred but having said that, I got totally absorbed in Alinor’s extraordinary life. Superstitions and dark themes abound but for anyone with a love of English history way back, this is a fine novel for you.. – Jenny, VIC, 4 stars

Philippa Gregory has always been a favourite author of mine. She has a way with words and story-telling and again she doesn’t disappoint with this one. Tidelands is like no other place on earth. A place you wouldn’t want to live in a time when a country was at war with itself. The chasm that separates the classes so noticeable and obvious. The world that revolves in secret and the chances to set yourself to a higher standard are evident. Philippa Gregory details so much history but makes us want to keep reading with her descriptiveness and her characters. It is engaging, vivid, historical and a great start to a new series. I can’t wait to see what happens next as I know it will be another great book to look forward to. – Donna, TAS, 5 stars

Philippa Gregory leaves us with a promise of things to come in this first of a new series. The book begins quite slowly with the author taking great pains to make the reader understand the dourness of the marshy, tideland setting, the poverty and hardship faced by the characters and the wretchedness of Alinor’s life. But as the story progresses reading about the lives of Alinor and James and those closely associated with them becomes a compulsion. I look forward in anticipation to the next book in this series. – Annie, VIC, 5 stars

Tidelands is set in the 1600’s at the end of the reign of King Charles I. It follows the life of Alinor Reekie during these turbulent times, through her daily labours for survival and the advancement of her two children Alys and Robert. She faces trials of hardship, hunger, faith, love, loyalty and her greatest fear. The story is well crafted, flowing effortlessly from the day to day struggles of Alinor in the tidelands to the kings struggles against parliament on the world stage. Interesting,exciting writing, leaving you breathless and wanting more! – Kristy, NSW, 5 stars

Gregory has strong skills in accurately depicting historical periods. The values, attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles of the time are all vividly shown. Readers will quickly feel they know the limitations of Alinor’s life. Many will chafe under them just as Alinor does. “Tidelands” is very low key – the majority of the characters are people unimportant to history – indeed, probably unimportant to anyone ten kilometres away. Events are not world shaking, or even particularly notable. This grounds the novel, and helps readers identify more strongly with Alinor, a very everyday woman. Also strong are the characterisations of Alinor and those around her. These characters leap off the page and convince you of their reality. My primary complaint was that there was no real sense of hope. It’s clear from early on that Alinor is unlikely to ever find her circumstances significantly improved. In fact, given the vividly drawn circumstances of her life, it’s hard to see much good happening to her. I found this bleak. Nevertheless, this was an interesting and extremely well written novel. Although not terribly optimistic, it’s an extremely vivid portrayal of life during the mid-1600’s in England. It’s worth reading, and others may find it more hopeful. – Lorraine, ACT, 5 stars

I was completely swept away by Philipa Gregory’s latest offering, Tidelands. Set during the tense period surrounding the imprisonment and execution of Charles I, England is on a knife edge, loyalties are fluid, and following your heart can become a game of life and death. But this is no tale of life in the fast lane with royalty and their courtiers. It is, rather, a tale of poverty, dirt, and cold hard work on the marshy tidelands on the south of England. It centres on lowly Alinor, a healer, a herbalist – emphatically not a witch – blessed, or cursed, with the face and bearing of a duchess. Always marked as out of place, she finds passionate and dangerous love with a young royalist, whose words to her, ‘a woman like you in a place like this’ chime throughout the novel as a hope and a warning. Throw in a missing husband, an ambitious daughter, a roundhead brother, and infuriatingly ignorant neighbours, all coming to grips with the new Puritan landscape, and you have a deep rich read on your hands. – Rebecca, NSW, 5 stars

Tidelands- what a journey! This was a fantastic read filled with twists, backstabbing witch-crazy villagers and the competing usefulness and terror of the water-logged area. The rich description of the tidelands maps the uncertainty and instability of the physical environment that impacts the lives of the characters, reflecting the changeable nature of the characters. Strong Alinor provides the closest thing to a constant in the context of the shifting tides and changing lives of those around her. The historical richness of the story adds to the tragedy of a community oppressed (especially its women) that translates to the modern world. Despite enjoying Tidelands, I wasn’t totally satisfied by the ending- a little bit too fast an ending before the story felt complete. However, the intensity of the final moments created a sense of urgency that left me feeling lost when I hit the final page, emulating the shock of the characters with the book’s final revelations. Mistakenly hoping for a happy ending, I at first felt disillusioned. However, these final moments leave a lasting impression of the main messages of the novel- how lies muddy the waters of trust, love and family. – Veronica, NSW, 4 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Tidelands, the first book of The Fairmile series by Philippa Gregory. Though set during the English Civil War of the mid-1640s, this novel focuses the vulnerability of women – and especially that of Alinor, a midwife, descendant of wise women, and living in poverty in a society where the privileges of the nobility, the existence of faeries and witchcraft, and the powerlessness of women are the norm. What I particularly appreciated is that Gregory did not fall into the trap of giving her characters modern sensibilities, so that whilst they may dream and wish and struggle for a different and better life, still they can do little against their society’s moral codes and expectations, and their suspicions, envies and betrayals when someone dares to challenge these are totally believable. This book is wonderfully atmospheric. The research is meticulous but lightly worn, and Gregory has an enviable control of pace – the story begins slowly, the detailed description of life on the tidelands effectively reflects the plodding, mundane life of its inhabitants, but as the story develops tension builds to finish on a strong climax that guaranteed I will be reading the next book in this series. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Better Reading for this ARC. – Dominique, SA, 5 stars

Philippa Gregory is a brilliant historian, passionate about writing women into history she has created a spellbinding novel in ‘Tidelands’. Set in England in 1648, amidst the backdrop of civil war between the King and Parliament, it’s a fight for survival… especially for women. Alinor is a poor woman, a mother to two children who is suspected of having dark magic in her maternal lineage, those around her are suspicious of her bewitched blood. Yet, Alinor is vital to the villagers for her support during childbirth and her herbal treatments to cure all manner of ailments. She is in a precarious position, with her abusive husband missing, Alinor must protect and provide for her family by any means possible. Stumbling into a mysterious man James on the run, only adds to Alinor’s distress as she finds the community closing in around her. This novel is all encompassing, the characters are real and desperate and I found myself utterly immersed in their world, fighting with them for their lives. – Lydia, VIC, 4 stars

Tidelands is set in coastal Sussex in 1648, when England was in turmoil due to the Civil War. The main character is Alinor Reekie, a midwife and herbalist, whose husband has disappeared. Alinor has two children, Alys and Rob who she will do anything for. As an attractive woman alone she suffers prejudice from the community and it’s not helped when it appears her children suddenly seem to rise in the community. Alinor’s encounter with a young royalist, James, changes her life. Once I started this novel I found it difficult to put down, I was keen find out how Alinor’s story unfolded. I pictured her dashing across the marshes, protecting her children and working incredibly hard to keep them above the poverty line and at the same time struggling with her feelings for James. The Civil War period is, for me, a fascinating time in English history and the divisions in the community are well portrayed. It’s obvious that as usual the author has done a huge amount of research and while all the characters are fictional many of the historical events did take place. I enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more about Alinor and her family in future instalments of this Civil War period saga. – Jacky, QLD, 5 stars

Philippa Gregory is the ultimate historical fiction author so much research goes into her books and Tidelands does not let readers down, this book is going to be a best seller loved reading it – Gavin, NSW, 5 stars

Thankyou Better Reading and Simon Schuster for the opportunity to review ‘Tidelands’ by Philippa Gregory. The book commences in 1648 where Alinor Reekie, herbalist and midwife whose abusive husband is at sea and presumed dead, lives in a desolate area, Tidelands, Foulmire in England. Alinor the mother of 13 year old daughter Alys, and son Rob who becomes the companion to Walter the son of Sir William Peachy and their tutor is James a loyalist to the king. Alinor’s brother, Ned is the Ferryman for Tidelands. He lives in the family home while Alinor lives her life in a small basic cottage where she grows and processes herbs. She is suspected to be a witch and is treated with suspicion by her neighbours because of her husband’s desertion. This is the time in England where there is unrest between the king and parliament. I have read many of Philippa Gregory’s books and really enjoyed ‘Tidelands’. The outcome of the book is not predictable and it is so exciting! Alinor is a strong woman, as is Alys, they are to be admired, so hard working with little reward in dreadful and frightening times. Anyone who enjoys history or just a great read will really enjoy this. – Gillian, QLD, 4 stars

Tidelands – England 1648 “A dangerous time for a woman to be different” The subtitle of ‘Tidelands’ Philippa Gregory’s latest novel captured my imagination straight away. I love well researched historical fiction especially one with a strong female protagonist. If you like Ken Follett’s ‘Pillars of the Earth’ (Kingsbridge series) you’ll enjoy this new series of Ms Gregory. The book is set in England in the 1600s at a time of upheaval as Cromwell has overthrown the King and taken over Parliament. This story centres on Alinor a young woman who has been abandoned by her fisherman husband to raise two children on her own in a small impoverished village known as the Tidelands. The Tidelands is “half tide, half land, all the way east till the white cliffs”. Alinor is a midwife and herbalist and is seen by some as a witch; she is poor but proud. Alinor befriends a young Roman Catholic priest James and even though it is dangerous for her she provides him refuge and help; her life changes as a result of this encounter. There is drama, romance and intrigue. I really enjoyed the development of Alinor’s character. Her strength, determination and drive in a time of male dominance is engaging. I look forward to continuing the journey of Alinor’s family with future books in the series. Thanks to Better Reading #BRPreview for the opportunity to read and review. – Karyn, ACT, 4 stars

Beautifully written, England 1648 desolate area called Tidelands, Alinor and her two children are living in poverty even though they work tirelessly, the description in this book is incredible as a reader I actually felt like I was in Tidelands the last chapters will have readers on edge – Deborah, NSW, 5 stars

I loved Tidelands by Philippa Gregory, story was so fascinating and I loved Alinor. She was such a beautiful soul and the journey she goes on with her children is just addictive to read. The ending is surprising and truly suspenseful. Loved it – Elizabeth, NSW, 5 stars

Tidelands had me intrigued from the very beginning. Philippa Gregory does not disappoint with her latest novel set in 1648 during the English Civil War. Her description of the marshy Tidelands leaves you feeling cold and isolated. The main character, Alinor displays inspiring strength both physically and mentally. To be a woman in the 1600’s was challenging however, to be a poor, deserted wife, raising two children was arduous. Alinor had me enthralled. This novel is reminiscent of The Lady of the Rivers, with its references to superstition and Faeries. Another enjoyable historical tale by a wonderful writer, Tidelands leaves you craving more. – Karen, NSW, 5 stars

Philippa Gregory brings us to England 1648 in the midst of civil war between the King and the Parliament, where the superstition belief is strong as well. Alinor is a mother of two (Rob and Alys), a herbalist and a midwife whose her fisherman husband gone disappear. She meets, James, a young priest in a mission to save the King, fall in love and not knowing this leads her into a disaster. Actually, this is the first book I read from Philippa Gregory and I’m quite like it. The author is surely a great story-teller, describing the detail beautifuly and bringing me to year 1648 with all the strong characters. I’m looking forward for what happened next to Alinor. Thanks to Better Reading Preview for the advance copy of the book. – Vivi, NSW, 5 stars

The book is a sweeping tale that transports you back to a turbulent time in historical England. Front and centre is the story of a remarkable young woman struggling to survive with limited means and the lengths she goes to in order to provide for her two children. Amidst the struggles and suffering our heroine also finds romance which adds another rich layer to this thoroughly enjoyable book. Highly recommended for the history buffs who also enjoy a good romance. – Christine, VIC, 4 stars

A lover of Historical fiction I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Tidelands by Phillipa Gregory. I was not disappointed. This book had me hooked from the beginning. Tidelands is set in 1648 in coastal Sussex during the civil war. It focusses on the main character Alinor , a young mother of two whose husband a fisherman has gone missing. one night she meets James in the graveyard and their friendship/ relationship develops from there. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the way Gregory developed Alimor, during what was a difficult time for women. I can’t wait for the second installment. – Mary, VIC, 5 stars


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