Cover Image: Dawnlands


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A continuation of The Fairmile series and Livia is still scheming her way up the social ladder and the Reekie Wharf family are trying to live quietly, choosing no sides and trying to stay away from the politics of the day. But Livia finds them to useful to her and wheedles her way back into their lives.
From the black, putrid Thames to the sugar plantation of Barbados, Gregory continues the story of Alinor, Alys and their families. This is Gregory at her finest. The ending suggests another book and I can’t wait to read it.
Thank you Netgalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Dawnlands is the third installment in Philippa Gregory's Fairmile series. I read the first two books and enjoyed them both. This book is set in England in 1685 and, like the other books, it is centered on Alinor and the Reekie family. Livia is also back and is up to no good, as usual.

There are several story lines in this book. Short chapters move from one character to another with no confusion. Although the book has no recap, the storylines made it easy for me to remember what each character had done in the previous books.

The first half of the book moved slowly for me. I had difficulty understanding the historical context of the kings and their religious beliefs and found it necessary to seek other sources of information. The story picked up in the second half of the book. I enjoyed the section set in Barbados the most.

There is a book summary at the beginning of the advanced reader copy that gives away too much of the plot. I hope this is removed from the final copy.

Thank you, Atria and Net Galley for an ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
The third in the epic Fairmile series, this continues the story of herbalist Alinor Reekie and three generations of her family, while paralleling the narrative of the fall of the Stuarts. 
It is the 1860s, James II is king and the country seems ripe for another civil war. Ned Ferryman returns from America with his companion, Rowan, a Pokanoket slave,  to fight for freedom. The devious Livia is back in the story as a confidante of the queen while pursuing her own best interest. Alinor’s son, Rob, gets caught up in the drama as he seeks to help Ned avoid execution and Rowan avert deportation to Barbados. 

There are different storylines, told from various POVS of royals, tradesmen and slaves.
The reader is provided insight into not only the history of England during that period,
but also the horrors of slavery and the sugar plantation economy in Barbados.

Well written, readable,  parts were a bit fantastical. For history lovers, more in depth focus on  historical events would have been appreciated.  As in Tidelands, there is another abrupt ending to this book, with questions left unanswered.  Another sequel?
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley fand Atria or the free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. Although I have read the first two books in this series, I was having some difficulty remembering the story. However, once I got started on this book, I was totally immersed in the story line. Philippa Gregory is my favorite historical fiction author and this book just reinforced why.
Was this review helpful?
Having read the previous two books in this series (“Tidelands” and “Dark Tides”), I had two feelings about this third book. One, that there wasn’t more story to tell because the ending had felt just and conclusive. Two, I was still curious enough to read it anyway because I cared about the characters. Overall, I was leaning towards three stars because I was invested enough to finish the book and Philippa Gregory is a good writer. But the long battle scene chapters, the multiple POVs (so many stories to keep track of), and the abrupt ending pulled this book down to a two star. Not a bad book just not a great one, and to my POV, unnecessarily published.
Was this review helpful?
First line: Livia Avery came down the grand staircase of Northside Manor in a tailored black velvet riding habit, her gloved hand lightly on the bannister, the heels of her riding boots clicking on the polished wood.

Summary: The year is 1685 and England is on the brink of civil war once again. King James II has ascended the throne with his Catholic wife and tensions are high as the battle over religion and government rages. Ned Ferryman is on his way back to his homeland in hopes of fighting for the freedom he helped bring about with Oliver Cromwell. With the help of his companion, a member of the Pokanoket tribe, they embark on a voyage back to the old world of England.

Back in London the Reekie family are daily increasing their fortunes with their import business and the traffic at their wharf. But when Livia decides to return and ask for favors from the son she left to foster with the Reekies, trouble starts to brew there as well.

My Thoughts: I have loved each and every word of this trilogy. The stories are so unlike anything I have read by Philippa Gregory so far. The characters are simple people who get caught up in the history that is sweeping the country. I loved becoming immersed in the everyday lives as well as the history of a time that I am not really familiar with. I learned a lot about the time of James II and the lead up to the Glorious Revolution. However, in this one we got more of a peek into the lives of the royals and how they were struggling to produce an heir and impose their Catholicism on the country.

Some may find this to be rather slow and uneventful but I loved how it was a look into something that is not always the main focus of historical novels. There was lots of hardships, injustices and brutality brought through after the Monmouth invasion and the life on Barbados. I think Gregory does a fantastic job of making the reader understand what happened to the ordinary people during this time.
Was this review helpful?
This is the third installment in the series, and with that ending, I'm sad to see the author has left room for another novel, which is not at all needed. Another 50 pages or so would have given us all the resolution we would ever need.

Livia is back with her scheming, Johnnie is a bit of a shit, Ned is my favorite, honor bound and now with a Native friend. Rowan was probably the second-best character. I was disappointed in how it ended for Alinor; I thought she deserved more. It's all a bit repetitive and drawn out, and I'm not sure that I would read another.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for this ARC.  This is the third book in the Fairmile Series and like all books that Gregory has written, she was able to bring her characters from the 1600's to life.  It has been a while since I read book 2 but after a couple of chapters I fell back in love with the sweet family that make up the main characters.  Even if you haven't read book 1 and 2, it is easy to pick up book 3!  Enjoy! #Dawnlands #PhilippaGregory #Nov2022 #FairmileSeries
Was this review helpful?
Philippa Gregory is my O.G. historical fiction author. The way she captures every era she writes about keeps me hooked. I will always run to read her newest piece as soon as I catch wind of it. Dawnlands is no exception. Philippa Gregory has done a great job of branching out from the Tudor era and telling Alinor's story with the trouble and consequences of society's perception of women during the English Civil War and the Stuart era.
Was this review helpful?
by Philippa Gregory 
Pub Date: November 8, 2022 
Simon & Schuster 
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 
I am so glad I requested and received the opportunity to read the third book in this series, early. 
I’m obsessed with 17th-century history and this series is paced with incredible history and characters. Philippa Gregory is one of the world’s foremost historical novelists. She wrote her first ever novel, Wideacre, when she was completing her Ph.D. in eighteenth-century literature and it sold worldwide, heralding a new era for historical fiction.

This is by far my favorite in the series! I loved the different points of view from the Royal Court to the Merchants Yard, to the slaves of Barbados. It was gratifying and easy to read and I really really hope that there will be another book in this series soon!!!!
4 stars
Was this review helpful?
I am sooo happy I requested this book. I read the first in the series when it came out and Loved it, but was less enamoured with Dark Tides (I found it somewhat confusing and tedious in plot) but I am so happy to say I LOVED this one. 
As someone versed in the history of the time period, I love the details that Gregory puts into her scene setting, and I was so pleasantly captivated by the character of Rowan. I felt that the book moved at a good pace, and that the plot lines were well followed and thought through. I think there were wonderful moments of conversation regarding colonial pasts and the wrongness of the old narratives, which was refreshing in a period piece. 
Overall, really enjoyed and would recommend that anyone who stopped at Dark Tides to finish this one out to the end. 
4.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
I thought the third installment from Philippa Gregory's The Fairmile series, Dawnlands, was pretty good. I am giving it four and a half stars.
Was this review helpful?
This is by far my favourite in the series! I loved the day different points of view from the Royal Court to the Merchants Yard, to the slaves of Barbados.

It was extremely enjoyable and easy to read and I really really hope that there will be another book in this series soon!!!!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you netgalley and Atria Books. Publication: November 8, 2022

This is the third book in Philippa Gregory's multi-novel Fairmile series. This one is centered on the years (1685 - 89), leading up to the deposing of Catholic King James II of England and the crowning of his successors, Protestant King William III of Orange and his wife, Queen Mary II (who happened to also be the daughter of James II by his first wife). King James and his second wife, Mary of Modena, however, are secondary characters in this novel. 

For those who have read the first two books of this series, the central characters in this story are, once again. the extended Reekie family: 
• Alinor - now an elderly woman, but still able to work magic with her knowledge of herbs.
• Ned Ferryman - Alinor's brother whose devotion to the cause of freedom remains unwavering. 
• Alys - Alinor's now middle aged daughter, running the family warehouse in London with her husband, Captain Abel Shore, her son, Johnny and foster son, Matthew. (Alys's daughter Sarah remains living with her husband in Venice, though her two daughters make an appearance.)
• Rob Reekie - Alinor's son, now a physician, living with his wife Julia and 16 year old daughter, Hester.

In addition, Gregory has also brought back Sir James Avery and his beautiful Italian wife/villainess Lady Livia Avery, who has become chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary of Modena. If you are like me, you'll be pleased to know that Livia is as treacherous as ever. There are also a few new characters to discover -- some to love, some to hate. 

Aside from the challenges to the reign of James II, the British version of the battle between Protestants and Catholics, and the growing movement against the Stuart brand of monarchy, there are also storylines that touch on slavery and sugar cane production in the Caribbean Islands, the mass murder of America's indigenous people, and the growing economic power and influence of worldwide trade. 

It's a good story and well-written, with a slow build. At times it felt a bit long (512 pages) but overall it's a worthy sequel to TIDELANDS and DARK TIDES. One criticism I have is how frequently and at times abruptly Gregory jumps between storylines, sometimes inserting very short chapters (143 chapters TOTAL!). For me, this made it harder to remain involved with the characters and limited my emotional connection with some of them. 

Overall, especially for historical fiction fans and fans of this historical novelist in particular, highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
What a fascinating read. I thoroughly enjoyed Dawnlands, the third book in a series, just as I loved reading the first two.

In Dawnlands, the author jumps ahead twenty years in the characters’ lives and we get to see what happens in not only their lives but also follow the political turmoil of 17th century England. Alinor is now an old woman, with grandchildren and great grandchildren, and her story fades a bit. Livia has ascended to greater heights, but of course still aspires to more. Ned Ferryman’s story broadens and includes a new character, Rowan, from the Pokanoket tribe, who he has rescued from slavery.

All these characters and more lead complicated and intertwined lives. The author does a wonderful job developing the story against a well-researched and realistic backdrop. I hope the series continues.
Was this review helpful?
I've enjoyed all 15 of the Plantagenet and Tudor collection written by, and when I learned she'd begun writing a new series, Fairmile, based on mostly fictional characters, I was intrigued. Book 1 was great, while book 2 was just average. But in this final one (I think, perhaps there could be more coming) is the best of the three. My only beef was the sudden death of two characters that deserved a little more focus in the end. That said, the various generations of this family are amazing, and I'm loving the growth and substance standing alongside them. Add to that the annoying but clever Livia's plotting, plus the fictionalized account of their friendships with Queen Mary and King William during the late 1600s, I was all in for this story. Pages easily turned. Characters were stronger than ever. I do hope there is another book.
Was this review helpful?
Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory is an excellent historical fiction taking place during the tumultuous years of 1685-1687 and it is the third book in the awesome Fairmile series. 

This takes place over a decade after the second book in the series. Here we pick up with most of the main characters and familes from the previous books. Alinor, Rob, Alys, Ned, Livia, Matthew, and a few new characters as well. 

This all takes place during the hotbed of unrest with the last of the Stuart Kings and the political, religious, idealistic, and societal upheavals that spread far beyond England. 

We are taken to Barbados, the Netherlands, and throughout England in this intricate and vividly drawn narrative that left me intrigued, surprised, and thoroughly entertained. While I knew what would happen to King James II of England, it was still a throat-clutching presentation that I almost forgot my senses. 

I hope there is a fourth book, and I highly recommend. 

5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and Atria Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my NG account only and will post it to my GR, Bookbub, Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 11/8/22 per publisher request.
Was this review helpful?
The third book in the Fairmile series takes the reader from England to Barbados.  War is afoot in England as the people turn on the Stuart king.  Uncle Ned is determined to fight for what is right, along with his servant Rowan.  Rowan gets sent to Barbados as a result of this entanglement.  Alinor fights for her family in England, while Ned transfers his battle to obtaining Rowan's release.  This sweeping tale is a great addition to the first two books and is a must read if the reader has read the first two.  Gregory spins a satisfying tale.
Was this review helpful?
I want to thank Atria Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book. I have read many, if not all of Philippa Gregory's historical fiction novels. I have always enjoyed them and when I first heard that she was beginning a series, based on wholly fictional characters, I was intrigued. I enjoyed the first book, but has some concerns about the characters and where the story line was going to lead. The second book was ok, my main concerns were that it was essentially split between 2 storylines, one in England and one in America, and both took place about 15 years after the end of the first book. This gap was concerning, as there was no recap of events, no here's what happened in the last 15 years, just  a casual Alinor is in London and Ned in Boston. The second book also introduced one of the most annoying characters ever( in my opinion) , that of Livia. I had hoped she would not be in the 3rd book. Sadly, she is back. So book 3 is similar to book 2 in that everything takes place 15 years later. Again, no recap, no exposition of how things happened, just random statements- "Sarah says her daughters are coming from Venice to visit". A timeline  or family tree somewhere would be helpful, since the books come out about 2 years apart. I did go back and re read the last few chapters of book 2, which, was not a big help. It is as if you missed season  3 of a tv show, and then started to watch season 4- the characters are familiar, but you are lost. The blurb for the book talks about the plot line with several exciting twists. Be warned , none of these actually happen until almost halfway through the book. One does not come in into play until I hit the 85% mark. Most of the book sets up the plot at a leisurely, almost glacial pace. There is more historical fiction in this, as the family gets caught up in the anti royalist sentiment ( and anti catholic sentiment) in England. There is also a second subplot concerning slaves in Barbados.The book is long ( 480 pages), and meandering. There are some good scenes with Alinor and her long ago love, Sir James Avery, and some other good characterizations, but for the most part it was dull and heavy handed. Count me out for any further volumes.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars, rounding up. This is the third book in the Fairmile series (not-really-a-spoiler alert, but we finally learn where the series name comes from at the end of this book!). Similar to the previous two stories, this one revolves around Alinor and the Reekie family, set this time in 1685. We meet a new major character, Rowan, and read several chapters from her perspective. Familiar characters Johnnie, Alys, Livia, and Ned play major roles as well.

In this book, Ned heads back to England with Rowan, a young Pokanoket, and they are quickly swept up in yet another civil war. Livia ends up as the Queen's best friend (how "Livia" of her, amiright?) and persuades Alys and Alinor to help hide her from the mobs. Young Matthew is tapped to help in this endeavor, and is rewarded greatly with a path to return to the tidelands, Reekie family in tow. Meanwhile, Rowan pays back a blood debt by trading places on a slave ship headed for Barbados, and Johnnie sets off with grand intentions of rescue. 

I looooved reading the sections of the book set in Barbados — this was unique for me, as I've not read any historical fiction from seventeenth century Barbados, and I found it fascinating. Horrifying, mostly, but still fascinating. I also loved to hate Livia, per usual. And good old James, still pathetic as ever. There are some major changes in store for the family during this book, and I am excited to see what the next Fairmile book brings for them. 

I've felt so differently about each of the books in this series. Tidelands started painfully slow, but built to an exciting conclusion. Dark Tides I loved best, as the action persisted throughout and I adored the major characters in that story. Dawnlands has been my least favorite so far, not for any major flaw, I just didn't connect as well with the characters highlighted in this installment. 

Thank you to Philippa Gregory, Atria Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!
Was this review helpful?