Book 3 of the Wideacre trilogy by Phillipa Gregory concludes the saga of the Lacey Family...the entire series is slighly bodice ripping, but in a more erudite way (if that makes sense) than expected. If you are a fan of historical fiction, try the Wideacre trilogy. It can be read alone, but it is certainly enhanced by its predecessors.
With this elaborate tapestry of a young woman's life, the Lacey family trilogy ( Wideacre and The Favored Child ) comes to a satisfying conclusion. Meridon is the lost child whose legacy is the estate of Wideacre. She and her very different sister, Dandy, were abandoned as infants and raised in a gypsy encampment, learning horsetrading and other tricks of survival. They are indentured to a circus master whose traveling show is made successful by Meridon's equestrian flair and Dandy's seductive beauty on the trapeze. Meridon's escape from this world is fueled by pregnant Dandy's murder and her own obsessive dream of her ancestral home. After claiming Wideacre, Meridon succumbs for a while to the temptation of the "quality" social scene, but eventually she comes to her senses, and, in a tricky card game near the end of the saga, triumphs fully. The hard-won homecoming in this historical novel is richly developed and impassioned.
This book was a very satisfying ending to the Wideacre trilogy. The first two books are hard to get through as the lead characters are among the most unsympathetic, horrible people I have ever read about. Nonetheless, you become interested in the story. With this book, Meridon is the third generation of Laceys at Wideacre, and you begin the book hoping that she will set everything right, based on the horrid scenarios in the last two books. When she makes it to Wideacre, she finds that everything has been set to rights in the absence of the Laceys over the past sixteen years. But will she leave it the happy place it has become, or ruin it? I had glimpses of her ruining it and I nearly put the book down several times, but she would have a thought that lent me some hope that all was not lost. The ending was very pleasing, although I would have liked to have seen her mother-in-law get her comeuppance. If you didn't like the first two, this book redeems the trilogy. If you did like the first two, this is a fitting closure.
While I absolutely fell in love with every other book that Gregory wrote, I never really felt that way about this series. I read the first in the series and wasn't overly impressed and could not make myself finish the 2nd book. The third I didn't even attempt. Since the readers here mostly liked the book, I will save them and reread at a later date. See, people do read these reviews and let them influence them on books to read.
If you read Wideacre and Favored Child, you MUST read Meridon, the conclusion to the trilogy. In my opinion, not as strong as the first two but full of events, both bad and good. The ending pulls the trilogy together nicely.
I myself have a personal problem with Phillipp Gregory which is based upon the disservice she does her readers with her recent so-called "historical" novels set during, before and after the Tudor period of English history. Her inaccuracies are all the more damning in my eyes because I get the impression that she does know the real historical data yet chooses to ignore it at the drop of a pin. (I could say "drop of a hat," but who drops hats these days?) And because she is such a GOOD story teller (she does get a grip on you), she has a ginormous fan base who believe they have learned "so much about history," by reading her books. And don't get me started on the movie based on The Other Boleyn Girl!
But Meridon is the third book of Gregory's first trilogy, which apparently is drawn from her thesis paper at University. These books seem to be more accurate historically. They do all contain quite a bit of Gregory's famous bodice-ripping, especially the first book of the series, Wideacre. She has a keen understanding of human nature, especially apparent in this, the last book of this series.
Ironically, I DO feel that I learned quite a bit about history from this Wideacre series. She portrays several classes of English society of what I believe is during the rules of James I and Charles I of England. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.)
Since this is the third book of the series, it would be very difficult to appreciate this book without having read the first two books. But I must warn you that the first two books can be a bit shocking unless a.) you have an open mind or b.) you have a bit of a kinky side to you.
I HATED this book! I picked it up because I love Phillipa Gregory's Tudor series, but this is nothing like those books. I didn't realize this was book 3 of the series, but it really can be read as a stand alone book if you're so inclined. It just seemed way over the top. She spends so much time describing how everything looks, and if you see past that, you find that there is not much of a story here. Don't waste your time...
By the author of The Other Boleyn Girl (which I could not put down - it was so good) I highly recommend Philipa Gregory's book. Meridon is the third in the series starting with Wideacre, followed by The Favored Child.
Meridon knows that she does not belong in the dirty, vagabond life of a gypsy bareback rider. The half-remembered vision of another life burns in her heart, event as her beloved sister, Dandy, risks everything for their future. Alone, Meridon follows the urgings of her dream, riding in the moonlight past the rusted gates, up the widing drive to a house... Wideacre. The lost heir of one of England's great estates would take her place as its mistress....
The last in Gregory's Wideacre trilogy, Julia and Richard's child, Meridon, is hidden away with the gypsies, in hopes Meridon can resist the evil that grows on Wideacre. Unaware of the life she was born to inherit, Meridon still dreams and longs for the estate. Will Meridon find happiness in early 19th century England, or will the evils of Wideacre draw her to it's lands? Gregory finishes this trilogy the same way it began: on a glorious and shocking ride.
The last in Gregory's original 18th c series, Meridon is a fitting, if idealistic, conclusion to the Wideacre trilogy. Written in Gregory's easily readable narrative, it traces the story of the last heir to Wideacre as she lives, abandoned to the gypsies, and learns of her true identity and comes to take her place in Wideacre history. A necessary read for Gregory fans.
Meridon knows she does not belong in the dirty, vagabond life of a gypsy bareback rider. The half-remembered vision of another life burns in her heart, even as her beloved sister, Dandy, risks everything for their future. Alone, Meridon follows the urgings of her dream, riding in the moonlight oast the rusted gates, up the winding drive to a house - clutching the golden clasp of the necklace that was her birthright - home at last to Wideacre. The lost heir of one of England's great estates would take her place as its mistress...
Crowning the extraordinary trilogy that began with Widacre and The Favored Child , Meridon is a rich, impassioned tapestry of a young woman's journey from dreams to glittering drawing rooms and elaborate deceits...from a simple hope to a deep and fulfilling love. Set in the savage constrasts of Georgian England - a time alive with treachery, grandeur, and intrigue--Meridon is Philippa Gregory's masterwork.