Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

*** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Reviewed by: Brittany Morgan

Beatrice Lacey, the daughter of the Squire of Wideacre struggles with gender barriers in 18th century England. Her unable brother, Henry, is set to inherit the family estate upon their fathers death. However Beatrice believes that she is would make a better leader than Henry. Beatrice must decided how far she is willing to go to achieve her dream of being a Squire of Wideacre and if the ends justify the means.

I have read “Wideacre” by Philippa Gregory twice and still love it! It is one of my favorite books (hence it’s 6-star status!). Beatrice does a great job of narrating the book and it gives the reader a different perspective. Most books that are told from first person point of view are often told from a persons perspective who the reader likes and this is not the case. As a narrator, Beatrice explains all of her actions and the thought process behind them, which helps the reader stomach it is certain situations. For those who read the book and believe that the incest is an example of how sick Beatrice is I disagree with you. It shows how far she is willing to go to be Squire. I view it as a commentary on the time period and how society restricted women to household roles that they were forced to act like this. Beatrice stated on several occasions said that she did not like doing this but viewed it as ‘her rent’ for still living on Wideacre. 

Overall I loved this book, and the other ones in the series for that matter, and loved the depth of character that Gregory included.

RATING: 5 Stars

The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory

Reviewed by: Brittany Morgan

Wideacre is ruined. The land is dead, poverty marks the tenants and the Lacey’s have no money or power to change it all. This is the second generation of Lacey’s – Richard and Julia – turn to rule over the estate and try to make it prosper once more. After John MacAndrew returns from India with a large fortune, the family believes that their luck – and more importantly Acre’s – has finally improved. Unfortunately they were all dead wrong.

I am a big fan of Gregory’s first novel in the trilogy, “Wideacre” (see review for details) and the second one does not disappoint. I have read “The Favored Child” three times to date and loved entering Gregory’s version of 1700’s England. I was able to notice things that I did not before about Julia and Richard in an attempt to understand their complex relationship. The author’s utilization of dramatic irony fuels the texts and has the reader screaming for Julia not to make the same mistakes Beatrice did.

Even though the first book proved to be too much for some readers, I still would recommend “The Favored Child”. The second installment in the trilogy is not plagued by an incestuous relationship that filled the pages of the first book. The continuation of themes is evident in “The Favored Child” and will come to fruition in the final book: “Meridon”.

The Wideacre Trilogy still proves why it is one of my favorite book series.

RATING: 5 stars

The Duke by: Gaelan Foley

Reviewed by: Brittany Morgan

Robert Knight, the Duke of Hawkscliffe, is determined to solve the untimely death of his forbidden love and will stop at nothing to figure out the truth. During his quest for vengeance Hawkscliffe, stumbles upon one of London’s most renowned courtesans, Belinda Hamilton, who he enlists to help him. At the risk of scandal, his political career, family name and his heart, Hawscliffe is unaware of the lengths he is willing to go for the ones he loves and the ones he thought he loved.

Gaelan Foley’s “The Duke” is unlike any other historical romance book I have read from the quality of writing, plot structure and even the time period. This Regency Romance covered all emotions that top tier historical romances have from extreme happiness, sadness, love and betrayal yet Foley executed it superbly. Belinda and Hawkscliffe came alive off the page and I was truly rooting for them and their happiness. My favorite aspect of the book was the complex plot structure that utilized political undertones and multiple outside character story lines. Foley defied historical romance stereotypes that often plague the genre, such as an unplanned/forced wedding or unexpected pregnancy, and blazed a path for an enjoyable and steamy read.

I devoured the novel and could not put it down at home, work or late at night. I recommend this read for readers who like historical romance books but want something unique.

RATING 5 stars

Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

Reviewed By: Brittany Morgan

The Roman war hero, Titus Andronicus, returns home from battle with the Queen of the Goths, her three sons and Aaron. After Titus kills one of Queen Tamora’s sons, he soon learns that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

This early Shakespearian play the the best revenge story that I have ever found. The lengths that Tamora went to in order to avenge her son’s death is amazing and slightly disturbing. Typical to other Shakespearian tragedies the action is intense in the first three acts, shows during the fourth and all hell brakes loose in the final act. I have been dying to read this play for a good six months now and I am very happy that it delivered!

In general I am a huge fan of Shakespeare. I think he is a genius. The images, symbols rich characters and inappropriate jokes always keep me entertained. “Titus Andronicus” is definitely one of my favorite Shakespearian plays!

RATING: 5 stars

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Reviewed By: Brittany Morgan

This book lives up to the hype! Since I was in elementary school, people have been raving about Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of A Geisha and I could not have been less interested in picking up the novel. A few weeks ago something in me changed when I selected the text to be my next audio book venture. Memoirs of A Geisha has been of the the surprise reads of 2013 and also one of the best that I have read this year.

Golden adds different layers to the story of feeling, passion and literary features. The symbolism, similes, foreshadowing and irony is top notch and elevates the story from good to great. I loved the historical aspect of it and I was able to learn new things about Japan and the life a geisha through the text. This book has something for everyone in it: romance, rivalries, extreme happiness and sadness and more.

RATING: 5 stars