My rating: 4 of 5 stars
THURSDAY, 01 SEPTEMBER 2011
I started to read the books of Philippa Gregory, probably like many others after watching “The Other Boleyn Girl” in 2008, I liked the book and so “The Boleyn Inheritance” quickly followed and by then I was putting her books on my To Read List.
Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her family name and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral heritage. Seduction, betrayal, even murder #151; Beatrice’s passion is without apology or conscience. “She is a Lacey of Wideacre,” her father warns, “and whatever she does, however she behaves, will always be fitting.” Yet even as Beatrice’s scheming seems about to yield her dream, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extent of her plans…and her capacity for evil. Sumptuously set in Georgian England; Wideacre is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of colour and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistible in its singular magic as its heroine.
What Do I Think?
If truth be told I did question what Philippa Gregory was doing in this novel, as she didn’t create a friendly heroine not at all like in her other stories.
Beatrice Lacey must be one of the nastiest central characters I’ve read about, some reviewers and critics had led me to believe that the character of Beatrice was in some ways similar to Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”, poppycock she is nothing like her! Beatrice is more genuine.
Having said that, I to some extent took pleasure in her outrageous activities she was conceivably one of the most cunning, scheming, depraved characters I have come upon in quite some time, she had no scruples and looked to destroy each and every person that stood in her way.
Overall, I found it a tantalizing read, and even though I have enjoyed many of Philippa Gregory novels I am not sure what to think of “Wideacre”, it was at times uneasy for me to read because at times the story of Beatrice’s actions are quite repugnant and the lengths she will go to are somewhat incredible even though we know that actions like this really did take place in Georgian England.
I took note of the low star ratings this story got in Book-Reads and one of the main reasons were that readers stopped reading for the reason that “Beatrice became nasty”.
In truth, this story-weaver developed Beatrice into such an immoral woman because the era in which she lived allowed no other way for the character of Beatrice to get what she wanted, what she thought was hers by right and if we actually look into the history of those times we may discover one or two real women who did what Beatrice did!
I will read the other 2 stories in this trilogy why? Because I guess that Beatrice’s deeds and lack of morality will be significant for what will become of her children.
Wideacre will not be for everybody, and if subject matter like incest disturb you, then do not read this story, on the other hand if you do, you might miss a trilogy of books that are a good read and don’t forget it was the intention of this talented weaver of historical stories to make you dislike Beatrice and possibly to make you just a little uncomfortable writers of horror and crime do it all the time.
To conclude I have given this book 4 stars as it really does shine a light on a very important part of English history, the 18th Century.
- Historical fiction: Our new literary guilty pleasure when buying books (telegraph.co.uk)
- I’m Breaking Up with Philippa Gregory (pspostscript.wordpress.com)
- The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (unputdownables.net)
- The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (unputdownables.net)
- Book Releases: September (bookchelle.com)
- 13th Boy 8 (slightlybiasedmanga.com)
- Finished! The Other Boleyn Girl (abookaddict.wordpress.com)