I had mixed feelings about the first one of this series (Wideacre, see my review), but as it ended I found myself wanting to know what happened to the characters afterward. This time, it isn't the heroine who is unsympathetic, it's another character, and the young heroine finds herself pulled along by circumstances. Until the end, she struck me as somewhat weak. It was a great follow-up to Wideacre, but didn't leave you wanting more as much. Regardless, it was hard to put down, and I will be reading Meridon, book three of the trilogy. I'd like to see the estate put to rights by good people, finally! I'm hoping the third book wraps it up nicely, after such a series of unpleasant characters.
This is a gripping novel and I found it hard to put down. Philippa Gregory's ability to command word enables you to have sensory experiences the same as her characters are having, you are in the moment, in the novel.
The second in Gregory's Wildacre trilogy, Beatrice's son and Celia's daughter live in a small house on the Wideacre estate, quietly escaping the aftermath of events in the first novel. While both children inherit Wideacre, only one can rule; follow Gregory's horrendous and shocking tale as one child strives for land and the other merely strives to survive.
Written with sensitivity, this is a sequel to New York Times best-seller Wideacre . The story, set in 18th-century Sussex, England, revolves arouond Julia Lacey; Richard, her cousin and joint heir; and Wideacre, the once-great Lacey estate. As Wideacre again prospers under Julia's almost magical agricultural ability, superstitious villagers who glimpse her visions of the future ask if she is the "favored child" predicted by Wideacre's former mistress before her violent and untimely death. Gregory's precise images and skillful descriptions make this 18th-century microcosm vivid. Love, terror, friendship, incest, class conflicts, and brutal power struggles are set against the pastoral beauty of an estate being restored to its former importance.
Philippa Gregory has to be one of my favorite writers. Wideacre, The Favored Child and Meridon are a trilogy, listed in the appropriate order.
The Favored Child is book two of the trilogy.
The Wideacre estate is bankrupt. The villagers are living in poverty and Wideacre Hall is a smoke blackened ruin. But, in the Dower House, two children are being raised in protected innocence.
Equal claimants to the estate, rivals for the love of the village, they are tied by a secret childhood betrothel but forbidden to marry. Only one can be the favored child. Only one can inherit the magical understanding between the land and the Lacey family that can make the Sussex village grow green again. Only one can be Beatrice Lacey's true heir.
Sensual, gripping, sometimes mystical, The Favored Child sweeps the reader irresistably into the eighteenth century, a revolutionary period in English history. This rich and dramatic novel continues the saga of the Lacey family started in Wideacre.
This is a very dark book indeed, with what its ill-fated heroine goes through, and it probably fits in better with the Gothic historicals of the 1970s than it does with Philippa Gregory's more recent historical novels centering on the Tudor Court. If I had to describe the "Wideacre" trilogy, I'd say it's a cross between Thomas Hardy, because of its depictions of rural English life, and V.C. Andrews, for the recurring theme of incest. There's a lot of death in this one, and one of the main characters is a psychopath. Toward the end, it verges on horror. Frankly, I preferred "Wideacre," the earlier book, but if I had to recommend one book by Philippa Gregory to someone who's never read her, I'd say, "Read 'The Other Boleyn Girl,'" because that's the best.
This is my fourth Philippa Gregory book. The Favored Child is the sequel to Wideacre. Granted, alot of the subject matter is difficult but the characters are intriguing. I suspected the second book would not be as good as the first, but I was wrong. I like that Gregory concludes the story at the end of each book and to my satisfaction. The characters are fascinating while at the same time grotesque.
Favored Child, the 2nd book in the Wideacre trilogy, continues the story of the Laceys of Wideacre. This time the book focuses on Julia and Richard, cousins and joint heirs to the Wideacre estate. Unlike Beatrice Lacey in the first book, Julia Lacey was not as strong of a character throughout. Richard was the one hell bent and determined to prove that he is the Favored Child and the rightful squire of Wideacre. This stems from a legend in the village of Acre that only one of them is the true heir of Beatrice who had a special relationship with the estate and could make it grow and prosper.
This book was not nearly as dark as the first one which shocked you repeatedly with its tales of rape, murder and incest, all for the love of the land. This one did have some dark undertones too though.
I had a hard time with Julia being such a wishy washy character, especially when Beatrice Lacey was such a no holds barred one in the last book. I also had a hard time believing that her love for Richard blinded her so much that she couldnt see how evil he really was. I love Philippa Gregorys books and although I didnt like this one as much as Boleyn Girl, Boleyn Inheritance or Queens Fool, it was still a pretty good read. I definitely think it had a little bit of middle book syndrome though where the 2nd book in a trilogy still manages to progress the story but it just kind of sandwiched in between the 1st and 2nd book and not nearly as good.
As the second book in this series I thought it was pretty good. Not quite as twisted as the first one, but this book has some characters that you will love to hate. The main character is pretty weak, trying to be a woman of the times, submissive etc... exact opposite of her Aunt Beatrice and at the same time she is trying to be strong. The reason I enjoy this series or any other book by Philippa Gregory is she has a powerful imagination and creates characters that are believable and some that are so twisted and manipulative you actually hate them.
I read this series backwards, by accident but I am glad I did. If I had started with the first book, I might not have gone on with the rest. The incest was a bit much and the characters had such a lack of redeeming qualities. Both the Villians and Hero's. The last book of the 3 was by far the best. When reading the first book I guess just hang in there and read all 3 the last one will leave you feeling better.
I was captivated by Beatrice in Wideacre. I didn't want her story to end. She belongs on Wideacre. Her daughter brings her back to life, just not as much as I wish she did. I loved this book as much as the first, it brings out every emotion a human being can even dream of having. Bravo Philippa.
It took a few pages for me to really get into this novel, than I had to know what happened next. The maze Gregory took me through was surprising at every turn. Truly reveals the conditions of the poor and their dependance upon the landed gentry during this period. With illegal immigration and can see us reverting to these times again. Read and weep!
Another well written novel by a great author, The Favored Child is a good read. I do prefer her historical fiction to her true fiction, though I'm hooked enough into the Wideacre trilogy that I'll definitely finish it =)