Sweeping Historical Fiction: Read an Extract from Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory

Sweeping Historical Fiction: Read an Extract from Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory

Livia Avery came down the grand staircase of Northside Manor in a tailored black velvet riding habit, her gloved hand lightly on the bannister, the heels of her riding boots clicking on the polished wood. Her husband Sir James, crossing the stone-floored hall, looked up and noted the letter in her hand and the flush in her cheeks.

‘So, you finally get your wish,’ he said levelly. ‘You’ve waited most patiently. It’s been five years since you met the duchess, and now she is queen. I thought you had given up.’

She took a little breath. ‘I never give up.’ She showed him the royal seal.

‘Is it a royal summons?’

‘We can’t speak here!’ she ruled and led the way into the library. Large logs smouldered in the hearth; she undid the mother of pearl buttons on her dark riding jacket and pulled at the cascade of fine lace at her throat. He observed her beauty with nothing but weariness. She was like the classical statues she had dotted around his house and gardens – lovely to look at, but meaningless to him.

She sat in the great chair before the fire, leaning slightly forward, her face glowing in the firelight as if posing for a portrait. Her dark hair was shiny, the creamy skin smooth on her cheeks, a few light lines around her dark-lashed eyes. She waited for him to take his seat opposite her before she would speak.

‘I’m all ears,’ he said ironically.

‘I am summoned to court,’ she breathed. ‘James, Duke of York is to be crowned king, his wife is queen. There is no support for the late king’s bastard. James the Second will inherit without challenge and my dearest friend Mary of Modena will be queen.’ She was as exultant as if she had herself persuaded the people of England to crown the unpopular roman catholic brother to the king, instead of the adored protestant bastard son. ‘She writes that she needs me, she is unwell. I will, of course, obey.’

Still he said nothing.

‘You could come with me? I am to be a lady-in-waiting, we could open Avery House? I could get a place at court for you. This could be a fresh start for us.’

He cleared his throat. ‘I’m not sure that I want a fresh start. I doubt that I’d want anything you can give me.’ Her dark eyes flashed with irritation. ‘You cannot expect me to refuse a royal invitation; it’s practically a command.’

He turned his face from her show of temper. ‘Really? I imagine that you could very well refuse. But I am absolutely certain you have courted her – writing every week, sending little gifts, all your engaging tricks – I imagine you have begged her to invite you. And now: she does.’

‘You should be grateful to me . . .’

‘You can go.’ He had no interest in what she might say. ‘I will send you in the carriage. I imagine you will live at St James’ Palace while they rebuild Whitehall. I assume you will return here when they go to Windsor in the summer?’

‘You agree?’ she demanded…

Continue reading the extract here…

Buy a copy of Dawnlands here.

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              Publisher details

              Dawnlands
              Author
              Philippa Gregory
              Publisher
              Simon and Schuster
              Genre
              Fiction
              Released
              15 November, 2022
              ISBN
              9781760851934

              Synopsis

              The spellbinding Fairmile series continues as the fiercely independent Alinor and her family find themselves entangled in palace intrigue, political upheaval, and life-changing secrets in seventeenth-century England.

              It is 1685, England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings and many families are bitterly divided.  Ned Ferryman cannot persuade his sister Alinor that he is right to return from America with his Pokanoket servant Rowan to join the rebel army. Instead, Alinor has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save the queen from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant.

              Alinor’s son, Rob, is determined to stay clear of the war, but when he and his nephew set out to free Ned from execution for treason and Rowan from a convict deportation to Barbados, they find themselves enmeshed in the creation of an imposter Prince of Wales – a surrogate baby to the queen.

              From the last battle in the desolate Somerset Levels to the hidden caves on the slave island of Barbados, this third volume of an epic story follows a family from one end of the empire to another, to find a new dawn in a world which is opening up before them with greater rewards and dangers than ever before.

              Philippa Gregory
              About the author

              Philippa Gregory

              Philippa Gregory is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Many of her works have been adapted for the screen including The Other Boleyn Girl. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and was awarded the 2016 Harrogate Festival Award for Contribution to Historical Fiction. She is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. She founded Gardens for the Gambia, a charity to dig wells in poor rural schools in The Gambia, and has provided nearly 200 wells. She welcomes visitors to her website PhilippaGregory.com.

              Books by Philippa Gregory

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              1. Swift June says:

                What are the three books from Dawnlands please in order