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Wideacre (Wideacre #1)

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,571 Ratings  ·  1,483 Reviews

Philippa Gregory’s first novel, a tale of passion and intrigue set in the eighteenth century.

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. Sexual and wilful, she b

Kindle Edition, UK Kindle edition, 659 pages
Published by Harper (first published April 1st 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I'm a reader who holds grudges. Disappoint me, and it's likely that an author will get cleaned off my shelves and dumped in the donation bin because if I try to read another title by them, the bad experience keeps lingering and trashes the current read. But Philippa Gregory has been the exception.

After two rather blah reads (A Respectable Trade and Fallen Skies, the latter which I will certainly re-attempt), this hefty saga was recommended to me by the awesome Sarah, whose similarly awesome revi
Feb 25, 2008 Xysea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
Horrible drivel! I had to scrub my brain after reading it. The lengths the heroine goes to for her beloved Wideacre would be semi-interesting if we gave a crap in the first place, but since the author can't even manage to do that well we don't give a crap and so it's a waste of our time and money!

Other books by this author are far, far better. Skip it! Read 'The Other Boleyn Girl' or 'The Boleyn Inheritance'!

Another one that went up on Bookmooch right away, and surprisingly was snapped right up.
Jamie Collins
Sep 02, 2007 Jamie Collins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely hated this book. I don't know why I finished it, except that I like the way Phillipa Gregory writes, I just don't like what she writes about. The heroine is despicable in every possible way, yet the author clearly expects you to root for her à la Scarlett O'Hara. She commits multiple acts of murder, participates in very creepy incest, and betrays people who love her. I'm not particularly squeamish, but I do require some redeeming qualities in a protagonist if I'm to forgive them all ...more
Aug 07, 2007 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction who aren't completely freaked out by incest and rape
Even though it is at times grossly sexual (and I mean gross as in disgusting), the Wideacre trilogy is one of my favorite stories of all time. For me, it really captures the essence of the era, and I loved it so much that I read the entire trilogy (easily 1,500 pages) in about two weeks. If you're not uncomfortable with incest, rape and sodomy, it truly is a wonderful, entertaining read, if for no other reason than to show what lengths people will go to get what they think they want. Highly reco ...more
Oh man. Beatrice Lacy you are one crazy little bitch. It’s not often that you get to read a story through the eyes of the villain, but I loved it! I know a lot of people didn’t care for the book because they found the protagonist hard to stomach. Oh yeah, and the vomit inducing incest probably didn’t help either.
She was perhaps one of the shrewdest, most vile characters I have come across. She had no conscience and took down everything and everyone that stood in her way. Half way through the bo
I've never read any of Ms Gregory's Tudor novels. The Tudor era doesn't particularly interest me (though I'm not opposed to the period if a novel has elements I enjoy), so I was intrigued by this trilogy for three reasons: 1) the Georgian setting; 2) her earlier (supposedly less-romantic) work; 3) the negative reviews due to an antagonistic & incestuous heroine.

I agree the incest is gross. It's definitely not the sort that draws a reader's sympathy (like, say, Flowers in the Attic). But once
Nov 14, 2007 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Enjoy Historical Fiction And Don't Mind A Very Scandalous Narrator
I loved the first half of this book. Beatrice Lacey is by far the most horrible, hateful, despicable narrator I've ever read, but I found myself rooting for her throughout all her scandalous deeds- the conspired murder, the attempted murder, the committed murder, the incest, the hidden pregnancies, and on and on the list goes. I even found myself disliking sweet little Celia, as wonderful a woman as she was, simply because she was Beatrice's enemy. That, I think, is the mark of a truly wonderful ...more
Nov 29, 2007 Melia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Didn't even finish reading this one. The characters are put into neat little boxes: Beatrice is evil, Harry is simpleminded, Celia is demure and kind, etc. The incest was disturbing, but it wasn't the incest that it caused me to stop reading the book. I just reached a point where I realized that I had already read 400+ pages of a book I didn't like and was only 2/3 of the way through. I felt like my time would be better spent doing just about anything other than reading this ridiculous book.
Dec 03, 2008 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tiffany by: Kathleen
Beatrice is one of my favorite characters of all times. She is confident, self-assured, unyielding, and maybe one of the biggest bitches in literature. With all the books out there that negate women's power and authority (uh hm...TWILIGHT), Gregory knows how to create a character that uses her strong feminine prowess and works the system. "The system" being the 18th century society in which women had very few rights and entitlement. What I think redeems Beatrice is her connection with the land a ...more
Dark, disturbing and downright demented family sagas are my thing, and the Lacey's of Wideacre definitely fit that bill. Our 'heroine' is daughter of the house, Beatrice, for whom incest, murder, scheming and wrecking is a day well spent. Batshit crazy for her is child's play; this sick bitch is the real deal and I loved her for it. Being inside her warped head with all its twisted reasonings had me sympathising with her to a point; I hated what she did, but I understood why she did it, and the ...more
I really wonder what Philippa Gregory was going for in this novel, because she certainly didn't give us a likable heroine in the slightest. Beatrice Lacey is one of the most horrible, nasty protagonists I've read...and honestly I enjoyed her scandalous behavior. I went into this novel knowing that she was a universally disliked character, and I think that really helped my overall enjoyment of this.

I did find myself actually wishing Beatrice would get her way during parts of the novel, which surp
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This book was crazy.

It was trashy, entertaining, and scandalous.

Beatrice was an unlikable character but I LOVED her. She was shameless, and it was oddly refreshing to not have her (really) angst about her moral failings.

This was, to date, the most entertaining book Gregory has ever written.

Beatrice reminded me a lot of Scarlett, but like the bad girl version.

Also some V.C. Andrews thrown in with the incest and gothic feels.

Not for the faint of heart tho.

Jun 13, 2008 Jem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like disturbed characters
I’m going to disagree with the majority of reviews here and say that I loved the book. I couldn’t put it down so much that I had read over half of it on the first day of purchase. I really liked the style of writing, the way you felt every emotion, good or bad that Beatrice was going through. The incestuous theme seems to have caused quite a stir here but for me the lead up to it was so intense that I found myself rooting for it to happen! Yes Beatrice is evil, and yes she is certainly vile but ...more
Apr 27, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 17, 2008 Danielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2008 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who married their brother
The only reason I gave this book a star is because the darn system wouldn't let me give less. Now, I'm not a prude who doesn't like my book to contain a bit of a steamy scene once in a while. In fact, bring it on. JUST NOT WITH YOUR BROTHER. I loved the time period of this book, and initially I was impressed with the strength of the heroine. However...she lost me when she started thinking up ways to seduce her brother. And chucked a darling hubby out the window (Not literally). What was that abo ...more
Jun 05, 2007 Suzy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suzysshelf
I have never read a book where I detested the protagonist more than I did in this one. I have read other of Phillipa Gregory's books and always liked the main character but this one is a dozzy. She is selfish, she betrays almost everyone in her life all in the need to own the house and property where she grew up, Wideacre. She even has well I don't want to spoil the plot, so I will only say that I couldn't wait for her to get what she deserved. I just couldn't like her but there are other nice c ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Courtney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is seriously trash. We see events through Beatrice, our main character and villian. She is so terribly bad with no redeeming quality, it is ridiculous. This is the first in a triliogy, and I won't be reading another. I actually really like Gregory's historical fiction, but I think she must be better when she is left in the confines of real events and people. When she allows her own imagination to run wild, it goes really wild, to the laughable. How did you feel about the movie Show Gir ...more
Dec 14, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wowee! What a sociopath the main character in this story is! Beatrice Lacey at fifteen knows she never wants to leave her beloved home at Wideacre. If this means parricide, murder and incest so be it. All I can say is Gregory has written yet another very interesting tale. While you find yourself uncomfortable inside Beatrice's head the story is so salaciously intriguing that you can't stop reading because you need to know the outcome for the dozens of other much more sympathetic characters invol ...more
Aug 13, 2007 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, yuck
Though I loved The Other Boleyn Girl by P. Gregory, I did not enjoy this one. The main character was a complete witch and didn't deserve any sympathy. I only kept reading it so that she would get her cumupins, which she rightly deserved. There was one particular aspect of the book that made my skin crawl and I felt dirty for just reading it. I have really no desire to read the other books in the trilogy if all of them are like this.
Jul 08, 2008 Savannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who liked The Other Boelyn Girl, people who liked Gone With the Wind
If Gone With the Wind happened in might look a little like this!

A ruthlessly sexy yet detestible anti-heroine captivates your attention as she will do anything to inherit her childhood plantation, including


arrange the murder of her own father, murder the murderer, commit incest with her brother, strangle-hold her own sister-in-law, arrange the murder of her mother, and drive her husband to ruin.

Yet with all this evil, the book's genteel language and spectac
Sep 06, 2007 Jana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard soooo much about Philippa Gregory's novels. I had initially wanted to read "The Other Boleyn Girl" first, but it was unavailable, so I picked up Wideacre first and cracked it open with anticipation....I think I had read 4 chapters before I threw it against the wall. I think there has only been a couple of times where I just can't finish a book, usually I'll plod through just because I feel guilty for not finishing! But with this book, I just absolutely hated the characters! Ugh! I'll ...more
Nicole Field
Apr 02, 2014 Nicole Field rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book a couple of days ago, and I'm still thinking of the last line of it. A book that can get that response deserves five stars.

This book, in addition to that, also did the very difficult job of telling a story that was compelling and moving while at the same time starring and unlikeable character. Beatrice Lacey is a young woman with her while life ahead of her and only one thing she wants: her father's land, Wideacre. As this is a story set in the eighteen hundreds, Beatrice co
Sep 26, 2011 Danielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a good representative of Philippa Gregory's usually talented story telling. The main character, Beatrice, is at first refreshingly different; you can see, for brief moments, SOMETHING of Scarlett O'Hara in her. Scarlett, however, has many many redeeming qualities and Beatrice has none. At first I thought this was a decent read; then I thought it was okay, and kept turning the pages; at this point I am on page 440 out of 648 and I don't know if I can even bother to continue. I am watc ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Claire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because I am quite a fan of Philippa Gregory. I find the Tudor period an especially interesting period in history and I really enjoyed her Tudor novels. I also enjoyed the first two of her ‘Cousin’s War’ series, and A Respectable Trade.

This was Gregory’s first novel. My paperback copy is 648 pages long, and in my opinion, could have been told in about 400 pages. It is Gregory’s usual fast page-turning style, and as gripping as her other novels, you can’t help but need to kn
Rebecca Huston
One of PG's earliest novels, this one was a novel that I did not like at all. Beatrice Lacey, the heroine, is utterly without morals or discretion in striving to keep her home, Wideacre, in her own hands. For that, she will lie, murder, steal and betray, and if she breaks social taboos, so be it. While at first I was somewhat intrigued, this novel descended rapidly into a turgid, highsexed travesty of a story, worst still, it grinds on endlessly over hundreds of pages. If you can handle this one ...more
Jan 30, 2016 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beatrice Lacey must be one of the most vindictive, selfish, pathetic, scheming, genius, bitches I've ever read about. I love her.
They should sell T-shirts that say, "I read 'Wideacre' and all I got was this T-shirt and a sense of exhausted nihilism."

Some thoughts:

* The book could've been shorter by at least a third. There was way too much repetition, both of themes and specific phrases. Too often I found myself thinking, Yes, I GET IT, she loves Wideacre more than anything, they can see the paddock from the house, he has "plump buttocks." YOU DON'T HAVE TO KEEP REMINDING ME.

* I felt a little worse about myself and the wor
Mar 23, 2009 Veronica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mooched, fiction
This is just plain silly. I had no preconceptions about Philippa Gregory when I started it, and I initially thought it was a serious historical novel, until it turned into (literally) bodice-ripping trash. The whole thing was so completely implausible. I don't have a problem with such a loathsome main character -- it's quite a challenge writing a book whose "heroine" is so unpleasant -- but did all the other characters have to be quite so stupid and blind? It also seemed to me that in reality, B ...more
This book is totally... people! There is incest in it! Also parricide, matricide, inbred babies, and general nastiness! And it's horribly boring.
Seems that a lot of readers were bothered by all the evil and sinfulness, but frankly, all things which should unsettle me were described so incompetently I could only snicker.
How can the main character be really evil and irresistible, if she considers herself evil and irresistible, and never lets you forget it, because she's the narrator? It's no fun
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 27, 2015 12:28PM  
Wonderful Book 20 84 Feb 26, 2015 05:43AM  
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Has anyone else read this book? 13 70 Sep 04, 2014 08:18AM  
Nothing But Readi...: Gregory, Phillippa: Wideacre (The Wideacre Trilogy #1) "Informal Buddy Read" Start Date March 16, 2014 40 153 Mar 26, 2014 01:12AM  
Has anyone else read this book? 2 17 Sep 02, 2013 08:14PM  
Rubbish! 42 292 Jun 29, 2013 05:25PM  
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Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acc ...more
More about Philippa Gregory...

Other Books in the Series

Wideacre (3 books)
  • The Favored Child (The Wideacre Trilogy, #2)
  • Meridon (The Wideacre Trilogy, #3)

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“I also felt a storm in the air. It prickled on the horizon. I felt it on my skin. The skies were clear, I could not wish for clearer. But I could feel the clouds massing against me, somewhere over the horizon.” 3 likes
“One never gets the same summer twice.” 2 likes
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