Friday, November 18, 2022

Book Review: Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory

Pages: 518
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: November 8, 2022
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Tidelands, Dark Tides,
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The “sweeping” (Parade) and “superb” (People) Fairmile series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory continues as the fiercely independent Alinor and her family find themselves entangled in palace intrigue, political upheaval, and life-changing secrets in 17th-century England. It is 1685, England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings and many families are bitterly divided. Ned Ferryman cannot persuade his sister, Alinor, that he is right to return from America with his Pokanoket servant, Rowan, to join the rebel army. Instead, Alinor has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save the queen from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant. Alinor’s son, Rob, is determined to stay clear of the war, but when he and his nephew set out to free Ned from execution for treason and Rowan from a convict deportation to Barbados, they find themselves enmeshed in the creation of an imposter Prince of Wales—a surrogate baby to the queen. From the last battle in the desolate Somerset Levels to the hidden caves on the slave island of Barbados, this third volume of an epic story follows a family from one end of the empire to another, to find a new dawn in a world which is opening up before them with greater rewards and dangers than ever before."


If you are read the first two books in the Fairmile series, hopefully you remember where it left off, because readers jump right in at the start of Dawnlands. It's right after the Glorious Revolution and England is at a crossroads. Catholic James II is King, but many families are still divided as some want Charles II's son on the throne. Then there's Livia, who is still plotting, and Alinor who finds herself in the middle of it. Ned Ferryman, Alinor's brother, is coming back home to England, but not without drama. Coming home with him is Rowan, whom Ned saved from the clutches of slavery, and to top it off, Ned wants to join the Rebel Army much to Alinor's dismay. Philippa Gregory weaves many plot lines in Dawnlands, but they all weave together to form a bigger picture; fans of her Fairmile series won't be disappointed.

Alinor is a character I always look forward to revisiting in Dawnlands. She is tough, smart, and dedicated to her family. I enjoy reading about her family and her relationship with her son, Rob, who wants to avoid the upcoming war, but slowly he is finding himself more and more intertwined. There are many different points of view in Dawnlands, and while this was definitely interesting, all of these characters and story lines were difficult to keep straight at least for the first half of the novel. Also, I had a hard time remembering the last book, Dark Tides, as it was two years ago that I read it, so I desperately needed a recap. Once I got a refresher, I appreciated the story a bit more, so with that said, Dawnlands is most definitely not a stand-alone novel and the series should be read in order.

My favorite aspect of Dawnlands is Gregory's ability to bring to life a time and place long forgotten. Whether we are at Windsor Palace, a dark street in London, or even Barbados, she brings it to life expertly and I wouldn't expect anything less from Gregory, who is one of the best historical authors of our time. Also, interestingly enough, I have never read a historical novel that took place in Barbados, so that was especially compelling even though at times it was hard to read about what was going on there as it was colonized. 

So, if you are a fan of the Fairmile series, I don't think you will be disappointed. While I didn't like this novel as much as the other novels in the series, it was still a solid addition to a compelling multi-generational saga. Let me know in the comments below if Dawnlands is on your TBR list and if you are a fan of the Fairmile series or Philippa Gregory.


  1. I haven't read Gregory's books in so long. I devoured all her Tudor books, but then kind of fell off. But this series does sound intriguing!

  2. It's good--not as good as the Tudor series, but definitely entertaining! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  3. I agree that the Tudor series were much better and this last of the 3 is frustrating due to Livias continuing lies without consequences.

  4. I was disappointed in the end! I felt it left a lot of things hanging!

    1. I admire Rowan for being independent and I understand that she wanted to go back to her homeland but I so wish that she and Ned could be together!!

  5. So who is Matthews father?


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs