Dark Tides is Another Spellbinding Historical From Philippa Gregory

Dark Tides is Another Spellbinding Historical From Philippa Gregory

A King returned. A widow’s grief. A Daughter’s quest for the truth.

Midsummers Eve, 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse’s poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy – his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move towards inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows – without a doubt – that her son is alive, and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the newly contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home.

I should start by saying that I’m something of a history buff and am therefore a huge fan of Philippa Gregory: She’s the undisputed queen of historical fiction. I’ve read a number of her novels over the years, but I’m most familiar with her bestselling fictional biographies of 15th and 16th century Plantagenet and Tudor women. Her Fairmile series differs slightly to these works. In Tidelands, and now Dark Tides, Gregory smoothly manages the transition to the 17th century where she tracks the rise of the Ferryman family in London, Venice and New England.

One of the things I admire most about Gregory’s novels is that she has always gone to great lengths to give voice to women who might otherwise have remained a mere footnote in history. She takes this a step further in her Fairmile series; unlike the heroines of her earlier works, Alinor Reekie has no claims to wealth or power. She’s a poor yet proud woman, who lives simply, and yet in spite of this, she makes a worthy protagonist, and her story was a genuine pleasure to follow.

After reading Tidelands, it was fascinating to pick up with the same characters twenty-one years later in Dark Tides. A lot has changed, and yet not a lot at all. The Ferryman family is still a proud, hardworking bunch, and it was interesting to see how they’ve shifted and grown during the intervening years.

Richly imagined, meticulously researched, and utterly spellbinding, Dark Tides was a marvellous read, perfect for readers of Philippa Gregory and historical fiction. I can’t wait for the next instalment in the Fairmile series.

Reviews

Spectacular Historical Fiction: Read an Extract of Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

Review | Extract

1 December 2020

Spectacular Historical Fiction: Read an Extract of Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

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              Synopsis

              #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s new historical novel tracks the rise of the Tidelands family in London, Venice, and New England. Midsummers Eve, 1670. A wealthy man waits outside a poor London warehouse to meet with Alinor, the woman he failed twenty-one years before. He has everything to offer, wealth, land, status, and he believes she has the only thing he cannot buy: his son and heir. The warehouse is failing, clinging on to poor business in Restoration London—a city gone mad for pleasure. But will Alinor and her family sell-out to Sir James? Meanwhile in New England, Alinor’s brother Ned, who rebelled against the Crown, cannot find justice in the New World, as the King’s revenge stretches across the Atlantic and turns the pioneers against each other and against the native Americans. A beautiful widow, Livia, arrives from Venice, telling them Alinor’s son, Rob, has drowned and that she needs the family’s help with a profitable new trade. She will import beautiful statues of marble and bronze to fuel the classical craze among the wealthy landowners. She enchants the warehouse family with her son, their new heir; her sensual carefree warmth; and promises of wealth to come. She captures Sir James and spins them all into a mesh of deceit which only the brave little daughter of the warehouse can break. Sarah searches for the truth about Livia in Venice bringing home the stunning denouement to this, the second book in the Fairmile series.
              Philippa Gregory
              About the author

              Philippa Gregory

              Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Now she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.Her other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells for the primary schools of this poor African country.A former student of Sussex university, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing.She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire.

              Books by Philippa Gregory

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