The #1 New York Times bestselling author and “one of the great storytellers of our time” (San Francisco Book Review) turns from the glamour of the royal courts to tell the story of an ordinary woman, Alinor, who cannot bear to conform to the life that lies before her.Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, England is in the grip of a civil war between renegade king and rebellious parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even the remote tidelands —the marshy landscape of the south coast. Alinor, a descendant of wisewomen, trapped in poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband. Instead, she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life. Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbors. This is the time of witch mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands. It is dangerous for a woman to be different.
English born author, Philippa Gregory, received her degree in History from the University of Sussex, followed by a PhD in 18th century literature from the University of Edinburgh. Along the journey of her education, she discovered that she had an uncommon interest in the Tudor period. Using her history background, she first wrote The Other Boleyn Girl, which to her credit, was made into a TV drama, and followed by a major film.
Gregory has put much of her effort and personal money into a 20 year old charity that she founded. It is Gardens for The Gambria, that teaches school children to plant market gardens which are irrigated by the almost 200 wells that the author has funded. She is also a patron of The UK Chagos Support Association, a displaced people in the Indian Ocean.
Gregory was selected as the 2008 Edinburgh University Alumna of the Year. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire.