Tidelands

Tidelands

THE BRAND NEW SERIES FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . . .Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the...

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Title:Tidelands
Author:Philippa Gregory
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Edition Language:English

Tidelands Reviews

  • Laura • lauralovestoread

    4.5 stars! I have started making my way through Philippa Gregory’s fabulous books, and I was so excited to read her newest series and novel, Tidelands.

    In this story, the reader is taken to 1648 England, in the midst of the Civil War between King and Parliament.

    I loved the research that went into this book, and I’m always amazed at Gregory’s storytelling talent to retell history. I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction, and can only imagine what life for a woman would

    4.5 stars! I have started making my way through Philippa Gregory’s fabulous books, and I was so excited to read her newest series and novel, Tidelands.

    In this story, the reader is taken to 1648 England, in the midst of the Civil War between King and Parliament.

    I loved the research that went into this book, and I’m always amazed at Gregory’s storytelling talent to retell history. I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction, and can only imagine what life for a woman would have been like during the 1640’s!

    *Thank you to Atria books for this complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • Linda

    The enemy from without and the enemy from within....

    Philippa Gregory has always left her thumbprint on novels of English castles and royalty. But this one has a particular flavor centering upon Sealsea Island near the tidelands in 1648. We're introduced to Alinor known also as Goody Reekie. Alinor has climbed to the top of the church tower at midnight gazing out to sea for her lost husband, Zachary. Zachary has been missing for almost a year. Neither widow nor wife, Alinor keeps her

    The enemy from without and the enemy from within....

    Philippa Gregory has always left her thumbprint on novels of English castles and royalty. But this one has a particular flavor centering upon Sealsea Island near the tidelands in 1648. We're introduced to Alinor known also as Goody Reekie. Alinor has climbed to the top of the church tower at midnight gazing out to sea for her lost husband, Zachary. Zachary has been missing for almost a year. Neither widow nor wife, Alinor keeps her vigil.

    Alinor notices that she is not alone. From within the darkness, she hears a man's voice. He tells her that he is Father James and must meet with Sir William Peachey. As an herbalist and a midwife, Alinor is not familiar with the changing times occuring in London where King Charles has fled and Oliver Cromwell has taken control. There is unrest in the countryside with those supporting the king and those who wish him to stand trial. We will come to know this Father James more closely and observe his true colors as Alinor becomes more and more involved in his safety and well-being.

    But at the core of it all is Alinor's solid allegiance to her daughter, Alys, and to her son, Rob. They exist within the hardships of life in the tidelands with work that furrows the brow and coins that rarely touch the palm.

    Long held secrets permeate Tidelands from the wider scope of the English Civil Wars to the personal interactions of parent to child and neighbor to community. Philippa Gregory begins this one with a low simmer and then gradually brings this one to a rapid boil towards the end. The dialogue is true to era and the characters reflect the historical angst. The ending opens the door that will shed a light upon the road of the future for Sealsea Island and its inhabitants. Whether you are a die-hard Philippa Gregory fan or a new one in the making, Tidelands is one novel that will sweep you away.

    I received a copy of Tidelands through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Simon & Schuster (Atria Books) and to Philippa Gregory for the opportunity.

  • Angela M

    3.5 stars rounded up.

    It’s a hard life for Alinor and her children who live on Sealsea Island, off the south coast of England, the tidelands “neither sea nor shore”. She’s a healer who grows herbs for medicine, delivers babies and works at times for the more well off residents as does her thirteen year old daughter and son. Her husband is missing, yet in 1648, a woman is defined by her husband and she is “not a widow nor a wife”, so when good fortune comes to her son, there are innuendos th

    3.5 stars rounded up.

    It’s a hard life for Alinor and her children who live on Sealsea Island, off the south coast of England, the tidelands “neither sea nor shore”. She’s a healer who grows herbs for medicine, delivers babies and works at times for the more well off residents as does her thirteen year old daughter and son. Her husband is missing, yet in 1648, a woman is defined by her husband and she is “not a widow nor a wife”, so when good fortune comes to her son, there are innuendos that she conjures up healing with more than the herbs she mixes or worse with curses. This grueling life they live sees no relief until she meets a young priest, and assists him through the mire to finding the place of safety he is seeking. The meeting not only changes her son’s life, but Alinor’s as well in ways she never imagined. Her daughter’s desire to change her fate of the poor life they’ve lived causes more than innuendo of witchcraft for Alinor.

    The first part of the story was slow moving with just way too much detail about her daily work routines and it felt repetitive at times. But then the story came to life as I’ve come to expect from Phillipa Gregory and I became quite engaged . While this is different from the other Gregory books I’ve read in that the main characters here are not the royals we are used to, the political circumstances are part of the story, the English Civil War and she depicts the history as well as she usually does with her research reflected here. While I felt bogged down at first, the ending was more than enough to keep me wondering what will happen to Alinor, and I’ll be eagerly waiting the second book in the series. A captivating story once things got moving so I’ll round up to 4 stars.

    ARC was provided by Atria via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Brenda

    is the first in The Fairmile series by Philippa Gregory and is set in England in 1648 when civil war, poverty and treachery surrounded the residents. On Midsummer’s Eve, Alinor searched for answers about her missing brute of a husband, but instead she found James, a young man who needed to stay hidden. Alinor kept him safe as they crossed the marshlands, then hiding him in her netting shed – her life changed that night and in all the nights and days to follow.

    Alys and Rob were Alino

    is the first in The Fairmile series by Philippa Gregory and is set in England in 1648 when civil war, poverty and treachery surrounded the residents. On Midsummer’s Eve, Alinor searched for answers about her missing brute of a husband, but instead she found James, a young man who needed to stay hidden. Alinor kept him safe as they crossed the marshlands, then hiding him in her netting shed – her life changed that night and in all the nights and days to follow.

    Alys and Rob were Alinor’s children. Alinor was a midwife, a skilled user of herbs, a woman with the sight. The work she and her children did for a pittance barely kept them in food, until the day Rob was taken on as a companion to the young master. Suddenly their life was a little easier. Ned, Alinor’s brother, was the ferryman, albeit reluctantly. He would rather have been off fighting. But superstitions and envy ran through the villagers – suddenly Alinor was in great danger. Would she be saved?

    was an intense, well written novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. The horrors of the way people lived; of the superstitions they firmly believed (don’t let night air into your room for the danger), of the Tidelands which were treacherous both day and night as the tides relentlessly came in and went out – fascinating but not something of which I’m envious! Recommended.

    With thanks to Simon & Schuster AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  • Marialyce

    One can always count on Philippa Gregory to write of women who are strong, determined, and courageous. With lots of evident research, she gives a human voice to these women, making them come alive as she imbues in them human frailties and an innate wisdom that came with living in the times that they did. From The Other Boleyn Woman to this current book, we meet women who are set in their determination and do all that is needed to succeed, to live another day.

    In this current out

    One can always count on Philippa Gregory to write of women who are strong, determined, and courageous. With lots of evident research, she gives a human voice to these women, making them come alive as she imbues in them human frailties and an innate wisdom that came with living in the times that they did. From The Other Boleyn Woman to this current book, we meet women who are set in their determination and do all that is needed to succeed, to live another day.

    In this current outing, we meet Alinor, a woman who has to live by her wits and her innate abilities as a herbalist, midwife, and a mother of two, married to a disaster of a man. He deserts her and goes off to sea, and Alinor is alone, left to care for herself and her beloved children. One night in a graveyard, she sees and meets James a Royalist priest something that was a kiss of death in the times of Civil War in England when Oliver Cromwell was in power, and Charles the First was in exile. She guides James out of the marsh and starts down a path that is filled with danger as she allows her heart to be won by James.

    Times were ever so difficult and with an aura of witchcraft surrounding her, Alinor and her children strive for peace and a sense of contentment. However, the road to their dreams has many pitfalls and as Alinor battles the times she lives in, she discovers a strength of heart and mind. She will survive and give her children a chance, a life beyond what the tidelands have given her.

    This sweeping tale is long, setting up the scenario for the coming books in which we will again follow the life and times of Alinor and her offspring.

    I recommend this book to those who so enjoy a novel that focuses on women that have met adversity and yet have been able to through strength of heart and mind to become resilient, tenacious and filled with resolve.

    When Jan and I heard that Philippa Gregory was working on a new series, we were quite anxious to give it a go as we both have enjoyed many of her previous works. We were not disappointed in this new beginning that promises to advocate for strength in women even through the hardships of being little more than chattel in seventeenth century Britain.

    To see our duo reviews plus an interview with the author, you can go here:

  • JanB

    The time is 1648, not an easy time to be a woman, especially a woman without a husband. Alinor is left a single mother of two when her husband goes out to sea and never returns. She ekes out a living as a midwife and herbalist, in a time when those activities were viewed with suspicion and accusations of witchcraft were common.

    The country is in the midst of a civil war between the King and his supporters and Parliament. Alinor’s path crosses with James, a young priest and a Royalist.

    The time is 1648, not an easy time to be a woman, especially a woman without a husband. Alinor is left a single mother of two when her husband goes out to sea and never returns. She ekes out a living as a midwife and herbalist, in a time when those activities were viewed with suspicion and accusations of witchcraft were common.

    The country is in the midst of a civil war between the King and his supporters and Parliament. Alinor’s path crosses with James, a young priest and a Royalist. She helps him find safe passage and their relationship forms the crux of the story.

    Meanwhile, Alinor’s children are presented with opportunities that will save them from a life of menial work and poverty. Alinor is like all mothers everywhere who wants a better life for herself and her children. I admired her hard work, ambition and determination. But their good fortune only fuels the suspicions of the townspeople.

    As with all the author’s books, this is hefty at 448 pages, and as it is the first book in a series, much time is spent setting up the background and life in the Tidelands. I listened to this on audio, which I highly recommend, as the narrator is excellent. Listening while multi-tasking made even the political maneuverings palatable. I appreciate the author’s attention to detail and historical accuracy, and it certainly made me appreciate my good fortune to live in the current times.

    The last half of the book moves along at a fast pace and the ending was a shocker. After so much time spent in the Tidelands, I’m looking forward to seeing where the next book in the series takes us.

    • This was a buddy read with Marialyce, one we both enjoyed on audio. For our duo reviews please visit

  • Libby

    4+ stars - Philippa Gregory writes in her author’s note at the end of ‘Tidelands’ that she wonders whether “It is possible to tell a fictional story which tells a historical truth,” and I believe she answers her own question with this novel, as I’m sure was her goal. In her note, she discusses the ‘historical truth’ of which she speaks, the voiceless women of whom no records were kept, their deeds unmarked, their education unattended, and still, they persevered in making lives for themselves, of

    4+ stars - Philippa Gregory writes in her author’s note at the end of ‘Tidelands’ that she wonders whether “It is possible to tell a fictional story which tells a historical truth,” and I believe she answers her own question with this novel, as I’m sure was her goal. In her note, she discusses the ‘historical truth’ of which she speaks, the voiceless women of whom no records were kept, their deeds unmarked, their education unattended, and still, they persevered in making lives for themselves, often ordinary, everyday lives in which they garnered their own successes in whatever beauty and productivity that could accomplish for themselves and their families. The heroine of ‘Tidelands,’ Alinor is just such an ordinary woman, twenty-seven years old, descended from a line of women with knowledge of herbs and midwifery. Her fisherman husband, Zachary has disappeared at sea and it’s unknown if he’s dead or alive. Alinor is faced with the bleak responsibility of raising her daughter, Alys, and her son, Rob, alone.

    The year is 1648; the setting is the southern coast of England tidelands, a landscape whose margins vary with high and low tide. Only those who live there can safely navigate the marsh and mire. One night Alinor meets Father James, a young priest in his early twenties, who is involved in the political intrigues surrounding King Charles I. She hides James and then cautiously leads him to the local aristocrat, Sir William, a former supporter of the King. Father James is immediately taken with Alinor, although his background is as far from hers as wealth is from poverty.

    The love affair that develops between Alinor and James affects me in its simplicity and its subtle sweetness. She maintains her cottage with great care; it smells good as opposed to most of the cottages of the poor which smells like excrement and body odor. Alinor’s cottage smells like dry herbs and the fresh sea air blowing in. She readily admits to Father James that her husband was just work for her to do. James says he’s never met anyone like Alinor; her beauty has turned his head, but she seems unaware of her beauty. Motivated, ambitious, hard-working, and extremely productive, Alinor knows how to save and spend her money, how to take advantage of anything that will prosper her family, and she feels like she has found in this man a love she never had from her ill-tempered husband, who constantly bad-mouthed her to the neighbors as a witch.

    This novel is a bit of a slow burn with time taken to bring the reader into Alinor’s world, where the women glean in the wheat fields, work with chickens, milk cows, gather herbs, and Alinor delivers a babe into the world and assists an old person out of it. I was never many paragraphs far from the work Alinor was doing. I found this absorbing and appreciated Gregory’s careful and meticulous research. Father James represents the religious and political thinking of those of that time who thought the king’s right to rule was a divine right. He will do battle in his soul because his devotion to the church and his politics are at odds with his love of Alinor. Alinor does everything within her power to drive her own destiny. Whether that is meant to be, or whether it will be left in the hands of men will be for the reader to discover. As the novel approaches the last third, the pacing picks up as we race to climactic events. A most fascinating way to submerge oneself into history!

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    philippa gregory is a name i can be counted on to invoke whenever i’m doing any RA spiel bullet-pointing the many different flavors of historical fiction, with her oeuvre representing the well-researched, female-fronted, literary romance-ish bracket.

    i read

    ages ago, and i remember liking it, so when i saw that her new series would focus on 17th century england with a witchcraft angle, well here i came.

    i’m a new eng

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    philippa gregory is a name i can be counted on to invoke whenever i’m doing any RA spiel bullet-pointing the many different flavors of historical fiction, with her oeuvre representing the well-researched, female-fronted, literary romance-ish bracket.

    i read

    ages ago, and i remember liking it, so when i saw that her new series would focus on 17th century england with a witchcraft angle, well here i came.

    i’m a new england girl who grew up on stories of goody proctor and giles corey and in undergrad, i took a class with a more global perspective on witchcraft, which turned out to be the perfect “me” kinda class: horrifying AND illuminating. ‘cuz no matter where in the world people cry ‘witch,’ the targets are certain to contain: unmarriageable daughters, infertile or otherwise inconvenient wives, elderly women, unruly women…it makes the victorian practice of offloading these same problematic females into madhouses seem downright benevolent.

    also included in the ‘frequently accused’ category are midwives and any women working in that mysteeeeeerious realm of women’s health.

    which is what we have here. alinor is an herbalist and midwife living in the sussex tidelands—

    where even the ground beneath one’s feet cannot be counted on from one moment to the next. alinor’s ne'er-do-well husband zachary is a fisherman who has not returned from the sea in months; maybe dead, more likely having abandoned alinor and their two children, but definitely leaving her in a precarious position, as indefinable as the tidelands,

    although her situation seems dire—a vulnerable, beautiful woman without a man, on the edge of the world with a young son and a daughter who will be needing a dowry, with only the herbs she can grow and the work she can find—suddenly, she and her children are blessed with the opportunities of individual, upwardly-mobile paths.

    what can account for this good fortune? perhaps…witchcraft? not so fast—first we have to remember that during this time, there’s a whole civil war going on in england and it must be addressed. we’ll come back to this witch business in like 200 pages or so.

    if you’re someone who loves historical fiction for its immersive properties, you will probably dig this. it’s a slow-burner; there’s a lot of ‘here we are in the tidelands, this is life in the tidelands’ (you cannot hear it, but i am singing this to a tune), but it’s an accumulation of everyday things slowly moving towards something, and i was getting impatient for the story to

    me to that something.

    if i hadn’t been promised juicy witchy stuff on the back cover, i would have been less impatient with the pacing. i did appreciate the descriptions of the family’s man v nature struggle; the hardscrabble eking out of life in a terrifically challenging landscape, how stubborn and resourceful you have to be to survive in such an inhospitable climate—those themes always have my full attention.

    maybe i’ve been away from historical fiction for too long, but i didn’t

    this. the middle felt draggy, and some of the characters were a bit one-note; particularly the exhausting mrs. miller and—o no—alinor.

    before you scold—i understand how tenuous her position is. i understand that even on the ever-shifting tidelands, one does not rock boats. i understand that a woman who has seen nothing of the world beyond her little isolated pocket of it; a mother of two with no man to speak for her, in a profession she has to keep emphasizing does

    include 17th century viagra or magical spells, she’s gotta lay a little low and not be seen as shrill or strident or defensive or any of those words we love so much to hear when a reasonable woman responds to chronically unreasonable people. people like that broadly-drawn mrs miller, for example. and i didn’t need her to be anachronistically assertive or ooh-rah empowered, but even a little spark in her interior life would have been welcome. one suppressed eyeroll or clenched fist. an acknowledgment that her public-facing demeanor takes effort. she’s placid as a messiah, turning all the cheeks, and every sentence she speaks is delivered “simply,” “evenly,“ “cooly,“ “steadily,“ “levelly,“ “easily“… it’s an impressive

    of synonyms for an endlessly agreeable person, but it doesn’t give her character much depth. her daughter alys makes up for alinor’s lack of indignation, but as a character, alinor reads psychologically flat.

    my last gripe, i swear, but as far as the ending - it’s so…disruptive. i mean, it depends where the series goes from here, but gregory spent so much time developing this physical location and this social community only to basically erase all that hard work with a JK NOW IT IS THIS, abandonment of everything we’ve been working towards.

    anyway. this historical element is strong, the witch element is brief, the romance element is...present. i will probably keep reading the series, but am hoping the next one is more focused on people losing their minds over witches.

  • Emma

    Dull. I am disappointed even though I know that Philippa Gregory’s writing is not consistent to my tastes. Some I like and some are a crushing bore. I was motivated to read this as it is set in the time of the Civil war and Cromwell.

  • Beata

    I have read several novels by Ms Gregory, and I cannot recall that much of a romance thing in any of them. I may be in the minority here, however, I want to be honest with myself, whcih is always the case, and I cannot say I enjoyed Tidelands too much. The premise and the period are presented exceptionally well, as is always the case with Ms Gregory, but this time the rather unbelievable characters and their improbable relationships were too much for me. When I read a HF, I want solid historical

    I have read several novels by Ms Gregory, and I cannot recall that much of a romance thing in any of them. I may be in the minority here, however, I want to be honest with myself, whcih is always the case, and I cannot say I enjoyed Tidelands too much. The premise and the period are presented exceptionally well, as is always the case with Ms Gregory, but this time the rather unbelievable characters and their improbable relationships were too much for me. When I read a HF, I want solid historical background, which I found in the novel, but as little romance as possible, which was precisely the opposite. I struggled through this book, finished, but it was not what I had expected. I literally opened my eyes wide on more than four occasions, and stifled more than four yawns. It might be interesting to see how Alinor fares in Book 2, but I do not think I will have that much courage. Having said that this book was just OK for me, I do not want to discourage any fans of Ms Gregory's writing.

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