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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.
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Booklist Review
Perennially popular Gregory, renowned for her Plantagenet and Tudor novels, turns her attention away from the royals to weave a tale of an ordinary woman caught up in a web of extraordinary circumstances. The seventeenth-century English Civil War provides the tumultuous political backdrop for a tale steeped in history, superstition, and societal norms and restrictions. On a mission to free herself from an absent and abusive husband during an era when most women held little or no power, Alinor, a gifted herbalist, meets and subsequently guides a fugitive across the treacherous marshes of her native Tidelands, a decision that has very serious and long-lasting consequences. As Alinor begins to prosper, she arouses the suspicions of her neighbors, is accused of witchery, and must rely on her own wits and judgement in order to protect her family and provide for their future. A welcome topical pivot from gifted Gregory, the first entry in her promising Fairmile Series sets the stage for a multigenerational, multivolume saga about the rise of a family from rags to riches.--Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2019 Booklist
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