Book review: Dawnlands


Philippa Gregory

Simon & Schuster

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

This third book in the Fairmile series sees the return of my new favourite villain, Livia de Picci.

The last we saw of Livia, she was under the thumb of her husband James Avery but Livia never stays under for long and at the start of this novel, which picks up some dozen years after Dark Tides ends, she is manoeuvring her way into the new queen’s court.

From there she sets about to enrich herself, as always, without caring how much her scheming wounds those around her.

The novel also sees Ned Ferryman returning to England to take part in a rebellion against the king.

He brings with him a delightful new character, a native American whom he saves from slavery and promptly takes on the boat to England as a companion.

His sister, Alinor Reekie, on the other hand, is finally able to return to Foulmire where her attempted drowning as a suspected witch decades before has become the stuff of legend.

The now elderly Alinor is confronted with the ghosts of her past as well as an unexpected second chance at love.

Meanwhile, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a new generation of De Piccis, Reekies and Russos, have grown to teenhood.

Unaware of their possibly entangled heritage, their blossoming friendships become romantic and their parents intervene to prevent possibly incestuous relationships.

Talented storyteller Philippa Gregory has again woven a sad, infuriating, surprising and thoroughly entertaining tale of love, betrayal, war, injustice and history.

As furious as I am at the ending, I cannot wait for the next instalment.