Author: Philippa Gregory
Original language: English
Wideacre Hall, set in the heart of the English countryside, is the ancestral home that Beatrice Lacey loves. But as a woman of the 18th century, she has no right of inheritance. Corrupted by a world that mistreats women, she sets out to corrupt others.
From Publishers Weekly
Gregory’s full-blown first novel is a marvelously assured period piece, an English gothic with narrative verve. Beatrice Lacey loves nothing more than the family estate, Wideacrenot her bluff, hearty father, her weak brother, Harry, or her mother, who can’t quite believe mounting evidence that damns her passionate daughter. Foiled in her hunger to own the estate by the 18th century laws of entail, Beatrice plots her father’s death, knowing she can twist Harry in any direction she chooses, for her brother harbors a dark, perverted secret. Their incestuous tangle is not broken even by Harry’s marriage. And while a bounteous harvest multiplies, no one gainsays the young squire and his sister, the true master of Wideacre. Beatrice marries also, managing to hide the paternity of two children sired by Harry until her increasing greed squeezes the land and its people dry, and the seeds of destruction she has sown come to their awful fruition. Gregory effortlessly breathes color and life into a tale of obsession built around a ruthless, fascinating woman.