Meridon by Philippa Gregory

If you have read my reviews of the two other novels in this trilogy; Wideacre and The Favoured Child as well as my reviews of Gregory’s other work, you will know how highly I think of her and her writing. Wideacre was an impeccable novel, The Favoured Child was a bit disappointing and well Meridon… Meridon was even more so.

Meridon is a Romany child living with an aggressive drunk for a step-father in hard poverty which she is desperate to escape – convinced she has a better destiny, a higher calling due to her dreams of a different life, of Wide, of a place she sees through the eyes of another young woman in her dreams. The only person she truly cares about is her sister, Dandy, and when an opportunity to escape her current life presents itself in the form of a Travelling show, she grabs it with both hands. They both become performers in the show – Dandy on the trapeze, Meridon doing tricks with horses but it all goes terribly wrong when Dandy tries to grab too much by trying to ensnare the show owners son by getting pregnant with his child. But he overhears her telling Meridon before the trapeze act and in a sudden twist, he flings Dandy to her death in his shock. Meridon finds herself alone with only a small amount of money riding towards a home she has never truly known – Wideacre.

I don’t want to go too deep into the plotline of this novel so as to avoid spoiling it but it was extremely frustrating watching Meridon constantly making mistakes. The schemes her mother implemented giving the common people a share of the profits and Meridon is determined to change that. She is determined to marry a young man who has problems with drinking and gambling in order to get control of her estate before she comes of age and ultimately it is inescapably frustrating that she doesn’t have the intuition to take control of her own life instead of allowing herself to be dominated by her joke of a fiancé who is controlled entirely by her mother. When he starts gambling with her money…. well I almost bit the page off it annoyed me so much.

That said, although Meridon frustrated me, it shows how well written the book was to evoke these emotions in me. It was a well written novel with some unexpected plot twists but ultimately compared to Wideacre which was a brilliant novel, it could have been a lot better – at times, the plot plodded along at a snail’s pace which wasn’t particularly engrossing and it was overall a somewhat poor end to a very promising trilogy.



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