A Novel

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
As an eighteenth-century Englishwoman without property rights, Beatrice Lacey is destined to lose what she loves most--her family's ancestral estate of Wideacre--unless her ambitious schemes succeed. Reprint. 60,000 first printing.

Simon and Schuster
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory comes the stunning first novel of a thrilling trilogy about the Lacey family, and the captivating woman at the heart of a power-hungry estate willing to go to any means to protect her family name.

Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her heritage and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral name. Seduction, betrayal, even murder—Beatrice’s passion is without apology or conscience. “She is a Lacey of Wideacre,” her father warns, “and whatever she does, however she behaves, will always be fitting.” Yet even as Beatrice’s scheming seems about to yield her dream, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extent of her plans...and her capacity for evil.

Sumptuously set in Georgian England from the “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY), Wideacre is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of color and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistible in its singular magic as its heroine.

Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, 2003
Edition: 1st Touchstone ed
ISBN: 9780743249294
Branch Call Number: FIC Gregory P
Characteristics: 648 p. ; 21 cm


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Apr 05, 2019

The only thing that convinced me to give this mess of a gothic novel three stars was that I could not put it down. This is one of the grossest, most melodramatic things I have ever subjected myself to.
WIDEACRE is supposed to be the tragedy of Beatrice Lacey, an intelligent woman born into eighteenth century England who falls to corruption and evil in her desperate struggle for power in a patriarchal society where she's expected to give the reins of her destiny over to a man the moment she marries. Fair enough and an interesting premise for a historical family epic.
But the thing is is that Beatrice is basically a monstrous, unfeeling, selfish snob from the beginning, and the characters around her tend to be one-dimensional and not too interesting until they start catching onto how horrible she is, which is deep, deep into the novel. While I found myself interested in Beatrice much the same way I might be interested in a train-wreck (I kept asking myself, "What will she do next??"), by the second half, I just loathed her and wanted the story to lurch to its inevitable conclusion. I got sick of the "pity me" parade from Beatrice while she starves, gaslights, blackmails, and murders the people who love and trust her.
And the drama! Sometimes, what happened was so grotesquely over-the-top that it felt like something out of a Monty Python sketch!
Still, I can't say I hated it. I finished all 556 pages. I recommend it only to people looking for a new guilty pleasure. If you're easily grossed out or disturbed, then stay away for sure!

Sep 09, 2014

I am a third of the way through this one and I am not enjoying it. Think I might just quit and move on to the next series by Gregory. I just do not like Beatrice...at all!

ukiechick Oct 18, 2013

Horrible book I read three pages did not like

Jul 16, 2012

Perverse and heavy-breathing stuff. In some ways, Gregory's best work, but NOT for fans of the average historical romance (e.g. Johanna Lindsay) or Gregory's history novels, which are unfortunately constrained by facts. The Wideacre is vivid and out there.

Jun 09, 2012

I did not enjoy this book, I kept reading hoping it would improve. It didn't and I never finished it. Not her best work.

Sep 07, 2011

This is definitely a book to read if you're looking for over-the-top drama!

SheriLynnB Jun 03, 2011

I loved this book and can't wait until I get my hands on the next in the series, The Favoured Child. Fast paced and filled with drama -- I kept saying "OMG what will Beatrice do next!" LOL

Mar 12, 2007

After enjoying Gregory?s ?The Constant Princess,? I decided to go back and read her works in chronological order. From the time she could sit alone on a horse, young Beatrice Lacey has grown to love and learned everything there is to know about the land of her father?s estate, Wideacre. To her young and naïve eyes, her father is grooming her to someday run the estate, and it is a shock when she realizes that she, just as all other ladies of Quality, must eventually marry and leave the estate. This is the story of the severe and unbelievable lengths Beatrice goes to in order to secure her place at Wideacre forever, only to tragically bring about its eventual ruin. By far the biggest flaw in this book is that most of the characters, the heroine(?) in particular, are extremely unlikable. I will continue the series.


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