I'm not talking about the whiny brats, the passive-aggressive victims, and the casually cruel. I'm talking about those women who don't conform to society's expectations and who use every resource they have to thrive. The sl*ts, the b*tches, the fighters and the survivors. Those are the bad girls I like.
You might like a few of them yourself. Historical figures like Elizabeth Tudor and Cleopatra the Great were both bad girls of that mold; if they hadn't been, they'd have been murdered young and we'd have never heard of either of them. Instead, they both schemed, manipulated and even killed to become great queens.
There are beloved fictional bad girls too. Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind is probably the most infamous. Scarlett is a heroine with insurmountable flaws, but her single minded determination and her raw courage have made her an enduring cultural icon. More recent literary history gives us the Dallanger Saga by V.C. Andrews, which captivated millions of readers with its vengeful heroine, Cathy Doll. But as dark and twisted as Cathy is, there can be redemption for her.
Not so with the main character of a remarkable novel I just read. Wideacre is not the kind of book that I would normally have picked up. In fact, because I had no notion of where the story was going, the first chapter was so dull that I nearly chucked the book in the trash. Worse, I could not find it within me to like the heroine. But soon, I realized that I did not just dislike Beatrice Lacey--I hated her.
And then I could not put the book down.
The narrator of Wideacre is unlike any main character I have ever encountered before with the possible exception of The Marquise de Merteuil from Dangerous Liaisons or Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights. At first, I read Wideacre because I was shocked. Then I kept reading because I couldn't wait to find out what awful thing Beatrice the sociopath would do next. But eventually, I became so absorbed in the darkness of her heart and the desperation of her struggle that I was unaccountably moved to tears.
While I could see no road to redemption for Beatrice, and I did not come to love her, I took no joy in her failures. This book is a tragedy, and in spite of the wildly divergent reviews on Amazon.com, I think it'll resonate with every woman's inner villainess.
Though Beatrice is not a normal woman by any stretch of the imagination, she is a product of the sexism of her times. Some of her vices, in a man, would be virtues. It's her absolute refusal to accept the role that society has set out for her that turns her into a monster. It's not that Beatrice can't love. It's that she doesn't love as a woman ought to. And when she does love, it's to such excess that it destroys everything.
In less exaggerated ways, I suspect every woman has been there. Driven by passions that are unseemly, unacceptable, and difficult to control. Usually, this manifests itself in semi-innocent transgressions, like spying on a boyfriend's email or calling his cell phone 47 times. But Wideacre must be understood as a woman's fable. It's a lesson in violent passions unrestrained by conscience or apology. And though it purports to be historical fiction, there are some plausibly deniable fantasy elements that pull it into the speculative fiction realm.
It's also a book with political and historical lessons; a thinking person's gothic horror. But at its core Wideacre is epic myth. Beatrice is a woman and a goddess, with all the potential for destruction that entails.
Wideacre is not a perfect book. It's too long by about 200 pages. It's repetitive, surreal, and after a while, you can see the ending coming like an unstoppable freight train and you're just there to watch the wreck. This is a dark book, disgusting and compelling at once. It's also a book that will haunt me for a long time.
It is a compliment to Gregory's writing talent to say that I found the main character so unsympathetic as to make the book difficult to read. Gregory skillfully takes us inside the clever mind of a cold-hearted, obsessed young woman, Beatrice Lacey, who has set her cap on one thing and one thing alone. Putting aside the themes of incest and violence, Beatrice Lacey is, in a word, psychopathic. Her utter lack of conscience, her grasping greed, and her inability to love others are her main traits. These traits also bring about her downfall, but only after about 600 pages of distasteful conduct. Nevertheless, I kept reading, as Gregory's depiction of life in Georgian England is richly drawn with lots of interesting detail. I can't say that I enjoyed this book, but I couldn't fail to finish it.
This book was well written. All of the characters were flawed and hard to like by the middle of the story, but I felt compelled to keep reading.
The main character is motivated by obsession and as is typical with that sort of plot, the story becomes dark. It is interesting to have the character start out as a sweet girl and then develop into a woman who will do whatever it takes to achieve her goal.
This is not your Momma's historical fiction! There is dark and very adult content in this series. Many commandments are broken, so if that sort of thing bothers you, skip this series.
The series order is Wideacre, The Favored Child, Meridon.
I am a huge Philippa Gregory fan and buy her books the day they come out, but even I could not bring myself to finish this book. The incest storyline grossed me out more than it intrigued me, and I wasn't enjoying reading this book at all. I'm not usually offended easily but this book crossed a line with me. I get that the incest is a way to convey how Beatrice will stop at absolutely nothing to get her way, but I couldn't stand to read further. I've decided to move on to the other books I have to read and not spend any more time on this one... hopefully The Other Queen isn't as disturbing as this one because I can't wait to read it!
I actually surprised myself by finishing this book, because even as I read it I constantly thought I would not continue and wondered why I did. I guess the only reason is that Philipa Gregory is such a great writer, she kept me strangely engrossed. I was really appalled and disgusted at the content and could not stand the characters. Not an uplifting, happy story. Will not read any further in this series though. Don't want to waste my points.
It took me two tries but I finally finished it. The first time I read it, I was very disturbed by the incest storyline and I couldn't get past it. I picked it up again and re-read it and the second time it was easier, I suppose because I knew what to expect. It's not necessarily a bad book but it might be disturbing for some.
I found this book difficult to read. The entire book is very dark and heavy. That being said, it is also intriguing enough that I kept on going. On the one hand I wanted to stop reading it, but on the other hand I was sucked in and wanted to know what would happen next.
It is a well written book but if you are easily disturbed by dark themes like murder, incest, extreme greed, madness, etc. this will not be the book for you.
I have written other Philippa Gregory books and this surprised me by how very different (theme wise) that is was. Wideacre is purely fiction, where I had grown used to the historical fiction nature of many of Gregory's other novels.
well written but somehwhat disturbing. the simple storyline is good but the idea of revenge and the need of power drives the story down a dark road when the siblings have 2 children and the main character has her husband declared insane to get his money. interesting but again, somewhat disturbing
Repulsive is the best word I can come up with for this book. What an absolutely horrid character Beatrice Lacey is. I'm all for human, flawed characters. It makes the book real and relatable. I also understand that for most people, works of fiction are an escape and a chance to live outside your real life. Why anyone would WANT to relate to or escape to Beatrice's life is beyond me. I couldn't even finish it. So much incest and evil....truly a depressing awful book, and very surprising, considering the author.
This book was incredibly disturbing in it's themes, it was not AT ALL what i was expecting...but i'm glad! If you are easily offended, i wouldn't recommend it, but if you like and dont mind a little dark historical fiction, this is the book for you! You will love and hate the main characters in this book..by the end i despised Beatrice Lacey, but also found her fascinating! I ordered the second book and am currently reading!
Philippha Gregory's first few series such as her Wideacre series showed her great potential talent that developed more fully in her later "Queen" books. I must say these are not my favorites though. They are what I would call "raw" and are built upon a rivalry between a male/female cousin rivalry for the homestead Wideacre in which the female side of the family appears to be uniquely fitted for running Wideacre while the male side of course is the heir. As the stories develop in the three books of the series, lovelust, rape, murder, and incest are parts of the plot and frankly were difficult for me to read. I did however enjoy her literary style and the series is not without its worth. Some of my friends did not find it as objectionable as I did. Just be forwarned.
Philippa Gregory writes in her usual style, but I did not appreciate the incestual relationship of a couple of the characters. I'm sure she did this in order to carry it on in her next book "The Favored Child", but I did not care for the relationship nor how she described with such sexual descriptions. I skimmed over them so I could continue with the book, even while thinking of not reading it. However, the rest of her story was very good as usual. Just a warning to others that may be bothered by incest, do not read it if you may be bothered by it also. I know I sound hypoctrical, but I did want to finish the book since I like her books so much. I felt that the sexual relstionships in this book were more detailed than her ones in the books about the queens. Reader beware.
Wow. Out of all the books I have ever read I don't think I have ever come across a character who is so manipulative, cunning, selfish and evil. Beatrice Lacey is a character like no other that's for sure. She was very interesting though. I enjoyed the story very much and I will read the other two books in the series someday. The only thing I didn't care for was how often the reader is reminded about her passion for the land and "the pleasure" and why women were not allowed to own land. Some things only have to be said once and the reader gets it--it is not neccesary to remind them over and over again. The incest parts were pretty nasty too.
This is absolutely the worst book I have ever read in my life and I have read A LOT of books. There are NO redeeming characters in this novel at all. When things got as bad as I thought they would, they just got worse. I have read several of Gregory's books and I have enjoyed them. This one is just retched. Do yourself a favor and avoid it.
A fictional/historical novel, written from the standpoint of a completely amoral young lady who is passionately tied to the land of her ancestors, an estate called Wideacre. This is an oddly fascinating book! The lady, Beatrice, finds herself doing everything she can to procure ownership of this estate in spite of the male-dominated law of the land, which enforces that no woman inherits property whether they are the next in line, or not. As pieces fall into place through her treachery, and her brother manage the land and she - ahem - manages her brother. As spouses and changes creep into the book, you see how her life progresses from one tangled web of deception to another. A well-written page-turner.
I almost put this book down and didn't finish. I'm glad I did though. She's a lead character you love to hate. The end is worth it and I'm looking forward to reading the second. I once had a professor tell me that it's ok to hate a character and feel pained by the storyline, and yet enjoy the book. That's what this book is like. I wish people hadn't given away so much in there reviews though. I would suggest getting past the yuckness of what she does and look at why she does it.
Reading this book is a little like watching a train wreck. Beatrice loves the land her family owns, but during the age she was born, she is destined to be sent away eventually. This is not good enough for her, so she schemes to stay. Nothing is sacred in her quest, but because nothing is sacred, she destroys her family, her connection with the land and ultimately, herself.
A grand tragedy of a strong woman.
Generally, I have fallen in love with most of Gregory's stories about Henry VIII's wives so I guess I was expecting too much from this series of books. Although, the book was okay, it definitely was not as good as her books on the royal family or even the gardeners of the royal family. I just never got really got hooked on the story of Beatrice, even though she was certainly an unusual character. She came off pretty much as a spoiled bitch and it was hard to find any sympathy for her. Everything that happened to her was brought on by her own selfish acts. Even though I am going to try to read the other two books in this series, I intend to wait awhile and see if they are better after an absence of Gregory's writing.
What can I say? VERY twisted book. At the start is was kind of hard to get into, but as the main character ages and you see what she is willing to do in order to stay on her family's land.... you will either be outraged or can't stop reading the book or both. For me it was both. Philippa Gregory has a VERY deep and never ending imagination. She wrote this book from the main characters point of view and it's hard to imagine the mind of someone so twisted, but she did it fantastically.
My review is much like the reviews I read. I disliked the 2 main characters SO much by the middle of the book BUT I could NOT put it down, so much so I have already ordered the sequal. This is like Scarlett on steroids. Just when I thought it could not get any worse it did. It was strangly addictive. It is dark but addictive.
this book isn't for the teens or children! theres a lot of sex, inscest, and violence.
I didn't even get half way through reading it because I've been reading other stuff but if You like The Other Bolyn Girl, you'll probably like this.
I have been a huge Philippa Gregory fan...until I read this book. She has hinted at incest before and included graphic sexual scenes, so I was not entirely shocked by the subject matter. And I am far from easily offended, but this story pushed me to a very uncomfortable place. Perhaps, that's a compliment to the skills of the writer and a comment on my tolerance, but nonetheless, I will be taking a break from Gregory's offerings for a while.
And to make matters worse, I got my mom hooked on Gregory as well, so when she asked to borrow this one, I declined to let her have it. No one wants to watch a graphic, incestual, rated R movie with Mom, right?
Before you read this book you must understand that this is a story about a young women who only wants what should be hers by right but because of the way the world works she isnt able to receive it. That thing being a plot of land. And maybe she does things that are COMPLETELY unthinkable to MANY... I can see how desperate she is to have it. She deserves it, she is the better choice but because she is a woman she cant have it.
I thought this book was beautifully written. I love Philippa Gregorys books. So I am a little bias on this. And thou the main character Beatrice is not one that you would want to spend your life with the novel is a GREAT read.
This book is trash pure and simple. I have loved all of the authors other books. However I felt such a tinge of evil to this book and its sexual scenes, current of incest that I ended up throwing it in the trash.
Not a badly written book but horrible characters. I have never cared so little for a group of characters in all my reading. I found myself hoping they got their 'just deserts'. I kept wanting them to do something, anyting noble to redeem themselves. I still read the next 2 books in the series. I just cannot quit a series once I start it. I had hope the characters would change through the subsequent books.
I read this trilogy back in 1987 when it was first published and I THROUGHLY enjoyed reading it again. Beatrice Lacey is the most loveable yet dislikable heroines I have ever encountered. Fair warning, this book is not for the faint of heart. Placed in 1750 or so England, the descriptions of the people, the land, the customs, make you feel like you are actually there on Wideacre farm, riding with Beatrice and her brother Harry.
Beatrice Lacey is obsessed, and her obsession is Wideacre. Everything she wants out of life is here, at her family estate, and she will do everything in her power to keep it. A sometimes violent tale of dark passions, horrifying secrets, death and destruction.
Not your typical historical romance, it is a brooding and haunting tale.
The heroine (or should I say anti-heroine) of this book makes Scarlett O'Hara look like a NUN! Wow, incest, murder, seduction, betrayal and more murder --but I was sucked in and it is a very easy read!
I made the mistake of reading this book with my husband was deployed to the middle east. I love and hate this book at the same time. I was so depressed while reading this book, and for sometime after. The reason I hate it is because it didnt end like I wanted it too. But it seems Gregory does that A LOT! But I LOVE it because it was so amazingly written. I have fallen in love with all her work now, just dont read it during difficult times. Or maybe do, so you know someone's life is worse than yours!
I loved the writing style, but I was definately not rooting for the main character, Beatrice Lacey, who was in one word: evil. The 2nd and 3rd book of this series had much more likable characters (beatrice's daughter & grand daughter).
The first in Gregory's Wideacre trilogy, set in 18th century England, follows Beatrice, a gentleman farmer's daugher with an intense love of the family estate, Wideacre. As a woman, it is not hers; just how far will Beatrice go to secure her place on Wideacre? Gregory pulls the reader under Beatrice's spell to give an answer, shocking them to the core.
I loved the Gregory Tudor series, and this was the first I read outside of those. Before conclusions are jumped to about my next comments, I did really like the book. That said, I have never read a novel where the heroine, if she can be called that, is less sympathetic to the reader. This girl is pure evil. You find yourself rooting for anyone who would stand against her. I don't necessarily believe in such things, but I found myself certain that there is a special place in hell for Beatrice Lacey. At the end, I reluctantly turned the last page - I was dying to know what happened to the rest of the characters! Fortunately, this is a trilogy. I'll be reading the rest of these books.
I Loved this book, period! I'm a great fan of Philippa Gregory's books, and this series is my favorite ever. Keeps you thoroughly engrossed.
It's about a girl who grows up becoming obsessed with her family's estate to the point of madness..and passes it down to the next generation. It was interesting to see the lengths she goes to, to keep her estate as she wants it.
I recommend it highly!!!
WIDEACRE was the May 2013 pick in my local book club.
Yikes, yikes, yikes....Incest abounds! Beatrice Lacey will stop at nothing to secure her heritage and rule on high as the mistress of her beloved Wideacre estate in Georgian-era England.
As a long time reader of Philippa Gregory's books on the royals, I was shocked to read such excessive and explicit reveling in an incestuous sexual relationship! It really leaves you to wonder if this weren't written from experience. Or if perhaps the author herself isn't the product of such a relationship...I mean, seriously, who writes an incestuous bodice-ripper?!
This book left a bad taste in my mouth, because the incest is ROMANTICIZED, under the guise of Beatrice's narration.
Why couldn't Beatrice and Harry have been step-brother and sister instead of blood brother and sister?? And even if it were written that they were having a sexual relationship, why would an author think the reader would need to be repeatedly brought into the bedroom with them, reading such explicit details about the sex those two were constantly having? Why?
It was just plain creepy and disturbing. Period.
On a more positive note, the last 200 pages seemed to indicate that a good editor got her to cast a more negative light on the previous indulgence of all the romanticized sex Bea and Harry had been having (not to mention the BDSM thrown in for good measure!) and we got a lot of references to the relationship as being a beast, or monster. But that doesn't in any way make up for the over-indulgence of the first 3/4 of the book.
The last portion also features Beatrice's scheming to change the line of inheritance to the incestuous children she sired with her brother! And there were some good scenes of conversation about the wealthy and their treatment of the poor, and those were riveting. But Beatrice doesn't get anywhere near the due she should've gotten for all her 2 dimensional, murderous, evil, sick, twisted wickedness! LOL
This was not my idea of escapism and I didn't enjoy reading about a brother and sister having R rated sex for hundreds of pages. It was disgusting. D+
Well written fiction about a very bad girl... I found myself torn between wanting to burn this book and not being able to put it down because I so wanted something good to happen! I would not recommend investing the time to read this because it left me wanting. Also, whew! I got a headache because there were so many pages! And I read alot!
From the cover . . . "Wideacre Hall, set in the heart of the English countryside, is the ancestral home that Beatrice Lacey loves. But as a woman of the eighteenth century she has no right of inheritance. Corrupted by a world that mistreats women, she sets out to corrupt others."
Beatrice will stop at nothing to get what she wants. This novel is most certainly a corset buster and has a lot of R rated material, but begs the question do men/women make history or does history make men/women?
Love Phillipa Gregory books, her writing reminds me of Victoria Holt's, who is my absolute favorite author! This story, actually shocked me at first. It was nothing like I was used to in a 'romance novel' yet....Ms. Gregory brings the character to life,which brought out feelings about the main character....compelling read!
This book sat on my TBR for a long time. I didn't think I would enjoy a "historical novel" but I was entralled from the first. I was definately surpised at the content, at least for me, in books that I normally read. Now, I need to read the other two in the trilogy.
Disturbing...It was like watching an accident happen. I didn't want to read more but had to know what was going to happen. Towards the end, I was reading just to root for the secondary characters. It was well written and unfortunately...mostly believeable.
I've been reading for over 40 years, and this is the worst book I've ever read. I normally like Philippa Gregory's work, and I am not squeamish about a little sex in a "romance" novel, but this is the filthiest piece of trash I've ever picked up. It's so bad that I actually threw the book away when I couldn't take it anymore -- I didn't even want to donate it, but figured it can be recycled into something useful.
Philipa Gregory has to be one of my favorite writers. Wideacre, The Favored Child and Meridon are a trilogy, listed in the appropriate order.
Wideacre is book one of the trilogy.
This is probably my favorite.
Beatrice Lacey, as strong minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her family name and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral heritage. 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.
Set in Georgian England, Wideacre is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of color and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistable in its singular magic as its heroine.
I became a huge fan of Philippa Gregory when I read "The Other Boelyn Girl" and ended up reading all the books she wrote about the Queens of England.
I really liked Wideacre and it definitely kept me intersted from beginning to end. There are some crazy events in this book and you really have to keep an open mind about the way things were centuries ago because the characters in this book do things that will make you cringe. That being said, the book is never boring and if you love the author as I do, this book will be another favorite!
This is the first in a trilogy about succeeding generations who own valuable land and a manor house-this one begins in the 1700s. This is NOT a typical epic set in England- yes,it has love and loss, joys and sorrows, passions and betrayals, but in the fascinting characters we find those who will not hesitate to commit incest and murder!
A most unusual historical fiction tale, which melds eighteenth century themes with those of today. I had expected the typical read: heroine who doesn't know her strength, overcomes adversity, usually against most handsome but hateful man, realizes late in the tale that she adores him, etc etc. Not so this story. This story tells the tale of the dark side of a woman, a woman who loves her country home to such an extent that she will literally do anything to both avoid having to leave it by marriage and to control it--anything. I recommend this as I'd recommend all Philippa Gregory titles--real tales well told, but the dark content of this one took me by surprise, pleasantly.
While I've known of author for a while, and really enjoyed "The Other Boleyn Girl" movie, I never had any great hunger to read. I really just stumbled on this and decided to give it a peek. Wow...one of the best books I've read in years. Dark...no kidding, very intense. This woman will stop at nothing to acquire her family manor. Murder, thieving, incest, masochism are just part and parcel of her great plan. Her manipulation and betrayal of everyone who loves her is mind boggling. On to sequel....
Wow, this book has more polarized reviews (so many one-star "I hated this book" reviews!) than most. I love the review that says that Beatrice, the main character, "commits multiple acts of murder, participates in very creepy incest, and betrays people who love her" and "has no redeeming qualities". I'm going to just say it: if you can't imagine yourself falling in love with a main character whose redeeming qualities are murder, incest, and betrayal, then you are not going to like this book.
I didn't have a lot of expectations for this book (historical accuracy, meh) so I just jumped right in, and Gregory did not disappoint. There is nothing more satisfying than an antihero with a legitimate grudge. Yes, Beatrice, you deserve Wideacre more!!! You should definitely plot to...um, oh, that's extreme, but okay, well maybe you can fix it by, oh, wow Beatrice, are you sure about that? Yikes! Unputdownable! You have to love a girl who sticks to her principles even when they lead her into really really awful consequences. And, being the person I am, I also have to love a girl who feels that living the comfortable but inconsequential life of a rich woman in Georgian England would be WORSE consequences. Beatrice is fabulous. HIGHLY recommended.
Great read,provocative! A page turner that keeps you going! Great for those of you who love to read books in a series. This is the first one of the Wideacre Trilogy.My copy has a different cover but is the same book.
Beatrice Lacey refuses to conform to social customs of her time. She is destined to lose her family name and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed. She will use any means to protect her ancestral hertiage. Seduction, betrayal, even murder, without apology or conscience. After all, she is a "Lacey of Wideacre." However she behaves will always be fitting in her family's eyes. As she schemes, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extend of her plans and her capacity for evil. The story is told in the setting of Georgian England. A truly gripping tale.