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Publisher's Summary

Second in the best-selling Wideacre Trilogy, a compulsive drama set in the 18th century. By Philippa Gregory, the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover.

The Wideacre estate is bankrupt, the villagers are living in poverty and Wideacre Hall is a smoke-blackened ruin. But in the Dower House, two children are being raised in protected innocence. Equal claimants to the inheritance of Wideacre, rivals for the love of the village, they are tied by a secret childhood betrothal but forbidden to marry.

Only one can be the favoured child. Only one can inherit the magical understanding between the land and the Lacey family that can make the Sussex village grow green again. Only one can be Beatrice Lacey's true heir.

©2006 Philippa Gregory (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good Reader but Repetitive and Disappointing

I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory but was disappointed in this one. Kate Rawson does a fine job of reading but the story is long and the theme repeats over and over. How many chapters or pages can we endure while the villain does terrible things and the (supposed) heroine is too weak to do anything. How long must we wait while everyone suffers from the wrath of a psychopath while the main character, stands by? After a while it's hard to have sympathy for the heroine. Additionally, there are many many pages where dialogue is simply repeated. Example; Character1 gives a speech to Character2 about "you're screwed now", Character2 responds "what?!" and Character1 repeats the entire long speech again. This is not rare. It happens throughout the book. Too much repetition. Bad enough with the dialogue but worse when the situations are repetitive. Maybe this book would be better if it was shorter. After the main characters get beyond childhood, the whole book keeps repeating the same set of circumstances until I wouldn't have minded if someone killed the heroine to end the book.
Sorry because I'm a huge fan of Philippa Gregory. If you don't like this book, don't let it deter you from listening to her other books. .

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

hard going

I am a fan of Phillips Gregory but really struggled to finish this book. The main characters are beyond frustrating. Richard is just revolting and Julia just made me want to slap her into sense. I am finding it hard to talk myself into going for book 3.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great story but wrong performance

The narration was too breathy in the dialog. She read all the dialog like it was a steamy dime store novella. I read these books years ago and they got me hooked on Phillipa Gregory so I was eager for this series to become available on Audible. It was the same great story but in the dialog parts, the narrator was way to dramatic, breathy, and her accents were REALLY BAD! She used a sing-song sort of rhythm to "create" the accents and instead, it really took away from the story. I HATE to say it because I love these books and I LOVE Audible And I LOVE Phillipa Gregory! But this performance was a fail for me. I was going to have my husband listen to them too because I didn't remember them as being girlie romance novels but the performance makes them feel that way and my husband will NEVER go for that.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dreadful stilted narration

Would you try another book from Philippa Gregory and/or Kate Rawson?

Sometimes the narration can lift a poor story. The narrator in this series is very stilted and particularly with the male voices which are over-dramatic. jolting and not believable. (Contrast this with the first book in this series: The story is a bit trashy, but Emma Powell brought it to life, and I would love to hear her voice reading some more serious works.)

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I will make sure to avoid this narrator in future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Melissa
  • Waxhaw, North Carolina, United States
  • 06-23-18

Not AS Good as 'Wideacre'...

🚨⚠️🛑 CAUTION | SPOILERS! 🛑⚠️🚨
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I think a big part of my problem was the narrator's often melodramatic interpretation of Julia Lacey's words; a lot of whininess. I interpreted her saying most things in a different tone.
Her Scottish accent for John all but ruins the character, though, honestly, I think the character underwent a bit of a change between 'Wideacre' and 'The Favoured Child.' He went from being one of my favorite characters and a truly understanding man to kind of being a closed minded and distant on things I didn't think he would be.
I would have assumed he'd have had more of a wedge in his relationship with his "son," but, after a couple of instances of briefly crossed swords, it seemed like a vaguely normal relationship; as if he wasn't actually raising the incestuous bastard of his former wife, and psychological and emotional tormenter, and hadn't been totally neglectful of Richard as a baby precisely because he'd wanted nothing to do with him...
I would have assumed he would have a difficult time trusting Richard and would be more open to Julia's influence than Richard's.
I would be wrong. 🤷🏼‍♀️
But the narrator's horrid Scottish accent definitely didn't help anything...

But I felt like the story was more loosely held together here.
Why didn't she arrange for literally anyone else she came into contact with from Acre to send a letter to James Fortescue? The only reason Richard was able to suspect there was something going on and intercept the letter was because she handed it off to Jimmy while he was nearby and could see her talking to him... So, arrange to meet someone else from Acre, go, then instruct them to give it to a third party, just in case. She should have gotten Ralph to deliver it. Honestly, if someone in Acre was merely just posting and receiving letters FOR her, at their home, and Richard didn't know about it, it wouldn't even need to be hand delivered to James. They could leave the recieved letters in a specific spot on Wideacre, hidden away, so that there doesn't even have to be a meet up. And she really only needed to mail 1-2 letters go get him to come out there anyway. Plot hole, lol. 😆😉
She gave up on trying to contact James too easily in my mind. But I know Richard started mentally beating her down. I still think her mind was free enough at that time to do it.

I was shipping Julia and Ralph the whole time and that didn't work out. 😖 I was hoping Ralph would be the only one who'd realize what was happening to her and save her by taking her away to somewhere safe, where people didn't know her, and offering to raise the child as his own with her (while hopefully confessing his undying live!), but also not before killing Richard.

To me, the book seemed to very strongly insinuate that Julia and Ralph were destined for each other, especially after James was removed from the picture, and then that just never happened. At all. A pretty big let down for me, I have to say. But I suppose others could read into it differently. It just seemed to be in the pages themselves.

This series is pretty obsessed with incest. While that doesn't bother me overall, it is a bit like "we JUST *had* a load of bizarre incest" when it starts up again in this book. It's just not really something you can simply sprinkle into everything, lol. It stands out big time. And this time it's doubly disgusting because they're both the children of the same brother and sister who then, through rape, procreate again...😨 I've read the first chapter of 'Meridon' and the Laceys must have very diverse, healthy genes for their daughter to not have apparent genetic issues. 😬
I feel like it's a theme and will somehow manage to carry over into the 3rd book, 'Meridon.' Bit weird.

But, overall, it was a pretty good book. A LOT of my problems come from the narrator and her interpretation of voices, accents and tones. Her voice for Richard was grating... Yes, I understand he likes to put on airs and probably sounds slightly more aristocratic than anyone else in the family because of it, but he's made to sound like some kind of nasally Little Lord Fauntleroy type, even into his late teens.
I feel like I want to go back and actually, literally read it just to see how much the story changes.
Regardless, it was enjoyable and I read it very quickly, actually, for my reading pace - 2 weeks, 4 days.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Philippa really let us down

stuggled to finish. dissappointed in wimpyness and mindlessness of heroine Julia. Duh! wanted to smack her on more than a few occassions. Philippa let us down with a pathetic heroine.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Twisted Story, great read!

You have a sick mind! The book is twisted and disgusting but is a great read.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

good until the incest

a good story until she starts with the incest again. it's really unbearable and disturbing to listen to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsay
  • 11-05-17

Middle in many senses

Kept me listening but seems to be written mainly to provide a narrative for next book. Hoping that's a bit better.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs. O. W. Hawkins
  • 09-22-17

Thoroughly enjoyable

The story made me cry but I could not stop listening, keen to hear the next turn of events

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-09-18

Audiobook 2 ruined

I listened to Wideacre Book 1 and was enraptured. I couldn’t wait to start book 2 but sadly had to give up after a few chapters. A different narrator was used for book 2, ruining any continuity and imagined characters from book 1. Accents and characters voices were annoying and verging on caricatures. My experience of serial audiobooks is that characters are built and maintained through the use of one narrator. So disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Helen White
  • 04-19-18

Couldn’t wait to finish it

I love Philippa Gregory but couldn’t bear this book. The main character of Julia Irritated me so much that I just couldn’t wait to finish it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • lizzie
  • 06-03-18

Not the best Philippa Gregory for me

This felt as if it was written by a very different author than the Gregory books I have read previously. Have to say it was not to my taste at all The characters are despicable and even the "heroine" was irritating. Of course, it is my personal view but if this had been my first Gregory book I would not have tried another.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Autumn Rose
  • 05-14-18

Superb!!

I was a little reluctant to buy this after the first book was so brilliant I didnt think it could get any better! But....I was totally hooked all the way through!! These are not my usual type of books I read! I cannot wait for book 3

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-13-18

Interminable

Another interminable read, I skipped whole chapters to make it go faster. So much pessimism and disaster, nothing to redeem it, except the reading, which was OK. The final half hour is the first chapter of the next book in the series - well it doesn't much make you want to continue, same gloomy writing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benny
  • 05-06-18

Escape to the past.

If you like tales of the old ways of life you will enjoy this tale. I became so enthralled I an about to start the next book in he series, need I say more?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • 04-30-18

i was disappointed on hearing a new narrator.....

but no need! equally melodic and engaging voice and your are in Wideacre in no time at all
great story and lovely listening....Meridon here i come!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • G Cook
  • 04-23-18

Sequel

Equally as good as the first book a good read could not put it down