Phillipa Gregory’s “Tidelands” is brilliant.

Phillipa Gregory long ago established herself as a writer of excellent historical fiction. In her care, the Plantagenets and the Tudors came alive to a global readership. Even the heavy breathing of the various TV series, films, and copy-cat books she’s inspired haven’t diminished the work of the scholarly Gregory. Her 2019 novel “Tidelands” (Atria Books) is remarkable. It is a dark story, set in the cruel poverty of 1648 in a soggy corner of southern England. Gregory captures three things with accuracy and vivid color: the bizarre and dangerous life lived by peasants and nobles alike during a civil war that divided the country by faith; the surreal natural world of the tidal landscape; and – most impressive – the complicated lot of a woman of the time left to raise and protect her two children without a man under the same roof. The details of gathering one’s daily bread are made so vivid that it felt strange to read at the lunch table set with my own effortlessly filled plate. –Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *