Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

I looked at this book on the shelf so many times but the blurb just failed to capture me. It seemed so different from her other historical works so I didn’t feel inclined to buy it. I finally got around to buying it and although I was sceptical at first, that soon changed. This novel is easily one of the most unique novels I have ever read; full to the brim with so many twists and turns I couldn’t put it down.

The novel opens with the heroine, Beatrice Lacey; daughter of the Squire of Wideacre, who falls in love with her home and the land on which she lives from an early age. Her father teaches her to ride and to understand the land, farming and to appreciate her workers. She wanders around like a wildling child, fishing in streams, disappearing in forests and riding the many acres of the estate. She is truly in love with the beating life of Wideacre and can never imagine leaving such a beautiful and wonderful place she is so in touch with. But when she overhears her father discussing her future marriage, she realises she isn’t going to be able to remain on Wideacre for the rest of her life. Instead, she is only passing through unlike her male brother who is heir solely because of a system set up by men so only men can inherit. She then sets her heart on staying at Wideacre by committing a series of crimes which lead her ever closer to being the Squire of Wideacre and powerful in her own right.

This book was utterly fantastic – Everything is unexpected! This book actually took over my life as it started to feel like her life was synonymous with my own, happening in real time to the point where I would worry about her when not reading. I would randomly start feeling distressed for no reason, and then I would realise that it was her worries I was feeling. I also felt quite connected to Beatrice as a character as I saw elements of myself in her so I felt like I could empathise with her on various different levels. She is one of my favourite characters I have encountered in a novel due to the fact she is so different from other characters I have discovered over time. I also particularly respected and reciprocated her love of nature and the outdoors – ‘The beating heart of Wideacre’ was a beautiful way to describe her love of the earth and I couldn’t help but respect her more as a character because of this. I also loved how every metaphor or simile was nature related so the novel never truly moved away from nature.

The best way to define this book is unique and full of surprises in so many ways – it’s impossible to put this book down to the point where I had to buy the next two books in the trilogy… I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something new, fresh and unique. Gregory at her best.

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One thought on “Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

  1. Pingback: Meridon by Philippa Gregory | Blurb

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