Wideacre – Philippa Gregory

16188This book, which features a truly vile heroine, isn’t for everyone.  Beatrice Lacey (whom I love to hate) lives in England in the 1700s on a rich estate called Wideacre.  She loves the land, more than her bookish brother Harry, but by law she can’t inherit.  Determined to be in charge, she plots her father’s death with a lover, leaves the lover for dead and then seduces her brother who has a fondness for pain.  When Harry marries, she foists the child she has by him onto his wife.  Pregnant again, Beatrice seduces a man and traps him into marriage.  Ultimately, she drives her husband to drink and then into an institution so she can sell his Scottish estates to gain resources for Wideacre.  She also brutally exploits the peasants who work the farm to ensure the estate’s well-being.  Although I enjoy many of this author’s books, especially The Other Boleyn Girl, the writing is so rich in the Wideacre Trilogy it remains an all time favorite.



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