Review: Tidelands (The Fairmile #1)

Title: Tidelands (The Fairmile #1)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:


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 south coast. 

Alinor, a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband. Instead she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life.

Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbours. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.


I have loved all of the Philippa Gregory books I’ve read in the past, so I was excited to read this latest novel. The other ones I’ve read have been more focused on the Tudor royals. This one was different because it was about a working class woman in the seventeenth century.

The story started at a slow pace. It began with just two characters, Alinor and James, meeting by chance. She is an innocent women who is accused of witchcraft by gossipers in her village, and he leads a dangerous double life in religion and politics.

I loved how the women tried to fight for their rights. The politics of the country were open to lots of change in this story, with the King in exile. Alinor and her daughter Alys often talked about how unfair their position was, just because they were women. I’m not sure how historically accurate these conversations were, but it was fitting for the contemporary reader.

Though the story started slow, the plot gradually grew into a thrilling story. I was shocked at the surprising ending. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

Have you read Tidelands? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

2 thoughts on “Review: Tidelands (The Fairmile #1)”

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