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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical, yes, but don't expect romance
"Wideacre" is the first book in the Wideacre trilogy, which follows the fortunes of the Lacey family throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The titles of the books foretell the obssessions of the protagonists: in this case, the obssession is the estate of Wideacre in the title.
Beatrice Lacey is desperately in love with the Wideacre estate which...
Published on 27 Nov 2003 by Star_Sea

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure!
I have really enjoyed lots of Phillipa Gregory novels but was not really sure what to make of wideacre. I really love Gregory's style of writing, her descriptions are great and her characters vivid but the problem with wideacre is that the main character Beatrice is absolutely hateful. Her story is so sordid and the lengths that she goes to for her land are quite...
Published on 28 Jun 2005


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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical, yes, but don't expect romance, 27 Nov 2003
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
"Wideacre" is the first book in the Wideacre trilogy, which follows the fortunes of the Lacey family throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The titles of the books foretell the obssessions of the protagonists: in this case, the obssession is the estate of Wideacre in the title.
Beatrice Lacey is desperately in love with the Wideacre estate which belongs to her family, but as a female in the eighteenth century, she cannot inherit. Despite the fact she knows the land better than anyone, she must watch the estate go to her brother Harry, who has no idea how to run it. The realisation of this prompts Beatrice to start a desperate quest to secure her place on the land, no matter what. At first, everything goes according to plan: she becomes almost a goddess on Wideacre (Beatrice means 'she who blesses'), gets married to a man who understands her and seems to have everything. But secrets from her past start to surface, and Beatrice becomes more and more desperate, taking and taking until the estate is on the verge of ruin. Her joy in life (food and sex), in Wideacre and in horses disappears, and there is nothing left.
It's interesting to watch the other characters change and grow with Beatrice. Her brother goes from a gifted young boy to a portly, boorish squire; Celia, his wife, matures from a wallflower into a pious, determined, brave young woman, the angel to Beatrice's devil; and John, Beatrice's husband, goes through hell and back. Beatrice, however, is different.
"If that was the way of the world, then the world would have to change. I would never change."
She makes this vow at five years old, but she sticks to it. However, one of the themes of the novel is adaptation. If you do not adapt, then eventually you must die in some way or another: this happens to her father, her first love, her mother, and eventually to Beatrice and Harry. At the ending, the air is cleansed, but you can see that it's not over yet.
The language in this novel is sometimes lyrical and sometimes crude. Beatrice is a compelling character, but difficult to like. There are many themes in this book: what women must do in a man's world to survive; paganism and Christianity; body and mind. It's a powerful read, very sensuous and full of life, but not for the faint-hearted.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 24 Aug 2003
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This book is beautifully well written. It is dark at some parts, especially the furter into it you get. The intrigue and deviousness that goes behind the walls of Wideacre is fascinating and makes you unable to stop reading until you find out what happens to Beatrice.
Even though at some points you are rather scared of Beatrice, almost for herself, you cannot help completely understanding why she would do all the things she did, including murder. That really says a lot about Gregory, whose writing is really amazing.
I would definately suggest this book, even to people who don't care for historical fiction. When reading this you forget it took place in the past, and you half expect to see the troubled grounds of Wideacre from your bedroom window.
It would make an awesome movie :)
A great read, one of my favorites!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 1 May 2006
This is a simply brilliant book. I will not describe any of the events as that would completely spoil the experience but the twists and turns of the plot as the story progressed were beautifully crafted and I definitely recommend this as a 'must read'. The characters are carefully thought out and as the novel continues you begin to notice the small idiosyncrises (sp?) that make them unique and upon finishing the book you are reminded of so many events that were giving you clues that you ignored along the way! The novel holds your attention, maybe once there is a paragraph that does not capture the reader and I must say that I actually gasped in shock at one point, something i don't believe i have done before when reading a book! With Gregory's book 'The Other Boleyn Girl' being made into a film as we speak, I truely believe that this novel will also follow. Do not be put off by the fact that this novel is set in the past, it may have some historical references but it leaves behind that 'textbook' feel as Gregory reveals more and more about life in Wideacre and the main character, a young girl named Beatrice.

I am writing this less than five minutes after reading the sequel to this book, 'The Favoured Child' and cannot stress enough how fantasic these two novels are, easily the best I have ever read, and as a self-confessed book worm this means they are the best among many.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure!, 28 Jun 2005
By A Customer
I have really enjoyed lots of Phillipa Gregory novels but was not really sure what to make of wideacre. I really love Gregory's style of writing, her descriptions are great and her characters vivid but the problem with wideacre is that the main character Beatrice is absolutely hateful. Her story is so sordid and the lengths that she goes to for her land are quite unbelievable. I can't say that I enjoyed the book and in fact found it quite uncomfortable reading because all of the main characters are flawed and not easy to like but I appreciated the strength and style of the writing and the social comment being made for the time. If this is the first Philippa Gregory book you read don't be put off if you find it a bit much because you'll miss some really good reads.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read!, 7 Jan 2002
By A Customer
I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it! The descriptions of the scenery in Sussex make it a real place and the comples characters become real. I've read it dozens of times and it still makes me want to read it again and i still can't put it down!
Beatrice Lacey has so many sides to her personality, she is the Witch of Wideacre who can make the land grow and then break it and wring it dry. As she faces her downfall, even after all the evil she has done, I think it is still impossible not to sympathise with her.
If you enjoy this book then you shoudl definately read The Favoured Child and Meridon, the two sequals, as well.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wideacre, 19 Oct 2005
The main character, Beatrice Lacey is so hateful and so calculating that I found this book hard to put down because I could not help but wonder what she would do next? What obscene and evil step would Beatrice take next in order to claim the estate she so loves but can never own because she is a woman living in a time when women cannot own land? This story will bring out strong emotions! You can only hate Beatrice. You can only love Celia, her brother's wife. You can only be devastated at the fall Beatrice's husband takes, all due to Beatrice's obsessive and sick needs to claim the land. Beatrice is pure poison. As much as she brings death to the characters around her, in the novel, she brings the novel to life as a dangerous and sordid story of passion, incest, and obsessive desire. Whew! What a read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, but I still read it until the end, 4 Feb 2009
By 
little lisa (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
I have read many of Phillippa Gregory's other novels and thought I would try Wideacre as it was one of her early works. The beginning of the novel is a real page turner; full of ups and downs, passions and beautiful sweeping descriptions of Wideacre. However, the main character is absolutely unlikeable and as her behaviour sinks to depths of depravity the likes of which I have certainly never read about in a novel before, the book eventually makes for a rather uncomfortable read.

I struggled through the rest of the book to be honest, yet I still wanted to see what would happen to Beatrice etc so managed to make it to the end. I did not know what to make of the novel by the time I had finished it and I can't say I really enjoyed it. However, I have bought the second in the series - I think maybe because the Wideacre story was so unlike anything else I have ever read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth making the effort, 8 April 2008
I started reading this book on a number of occasions but kept giving up after a couple of chapters.

It was only as it came so highly recommended from a good friend that I decide to perservere and give it one more go - and I was certainly glad I did.

Once I'd got further into this book I was captivated and could barely put it down.

If you're expecting a nice, romantic, fluffy read then don't. But if you like your novels gritty (in an 18th century way) and with a realy vicious heroine then this is the book for you.

Despite the fact she committed some truly evil acts in a way I couldn't help but like Beatrice, and was rooting for her most of the time. Highly recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous first, 26 Feb 2007
A fabulous debut and the book that sparked my interest in historicals. This was Philippa Gregory at her dark, imaginative best. Contrast this with the Tudor time warp in which she is currently stuck. The sequels, The Favoured Child and Meridon, maintain the standard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of corruption and manipulation, 12 July 2008
By 
M. Harrison (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is, quite simply, one of the best books I've ever read.

Even as a young child, Beatrice loves her home and the surrounding land known as Wideacre, almost to the exclusion of everything else. But as she grows into a woman and learns that she can never inherit, she sets out to wilfully manipulate and corrupt everyone and everything that stands in her path in order to get it.

What's unusual about this book is that for me, a strong part of enjoying a novel is usually a need to like and empathise with the main character. While I began the book with empathy for Beatrice, and all women who grew up in a man's world with no rights, her character evolves into something so wicked that this was what kept me turning the pages. I was desperate to know what she was prepared to do next - and whether she would get away with it.

The novel comes to a satisfying and devastating conclusion, and can stand alone without the need to read the two books that follow: The Favoured Child and Meridion - but I will definitely be reading them.
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Wideacre (Wideacre Trilogy)
Wideacre (Wideacre Trilogy) by Philippa Gregory
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