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The Favored Child

The Favored Child

A Novel

  • reading group guide
From #1 New York Times bestselling author and “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory comes the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller Wideacre as the once-great Lacey estate is restored to its former grandeur—though not without cost.

The Wideacre estate is bankrupt. The villagers are living in poverty and formerly stunning hall is a smoke-blackened ruin. But, in the Dower House nearby, two children are being raised in protected innocence.

Equal claimants to the estate, rivals for the love of the village, they are tied by a secret childhood betrothal but forbidden to marry. Only one can be the favored child—only one can inherit the magical understanding between the land and the Lacey family that can make the Sussex village grow green again. Only one can be Beatrice Lacey’s true heir. Sensual, gripping, and mystical, The Favored Child irresistibly sweeps the reader into a world of secrets, betrayals, and power in this revolutionary period of English history.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 624 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439103401 | 
  • June 2008
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Chapter 1

I am an old woman now. In my heart I am an old woman, tired, and ready for my death. But when I was a child, I was a girl on Wideacre. A girl who knew everything, and yet knew nothing. A girl who could see the past all around as she walked on the land -- dimly, like firelit smoke. And could see the future in bright glimpses -- like moonlight through storm-torn clouds. The unstoppable hints of past and future molded my childhood like drips of water on a tortuous limestone stalactite that grows and grows into a strange racked shape, knowing nothing.

Oh! I know now. I have been a fool. I was a fool over and over in the years... see more

Reading Group Guide

The Favored Child
By Philippa Gregory
Reading Group Discussion Guide

INTRODUCTION
Description

The Wideacre estate is bankrupt. The villagers are living in poverty and Wideacre Hall is a smoke-blackened ruin. But, in the Dower House, two children are being raised in protected innocence.
Equal claimants to the estate, rivals for the love of the village, they are tied by a secret childhood betrothal but forbidden to marry. Only one can be the favored child. Only one can inherit the magical understanding between the land and the Lacey family that can make the Sussex village grow green again. Only one can be Beatrice Lacey's true heir.
Sensual, gripping, sometimes mystical, The Favored Child sweeps the reader irresistibly into the eighteenth century, a revolutionary period in English history. This rich and dramatic novel continues the saga of the Lacey family begun in Philippa Gregory's bestselling and enduringly popular Wideacre.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. How would you describe Julia Lacey's feelings toward her cousin, Richard, and his toward her? How does the fact that they are -- in fact -- siblings color your impressions of their childhood alliances and squabbles?
2. Why do Richard's failures at equestrian pursuits, music, and his studies intensify his desire to become the squire of Wideacre? What explains his penchant for failure, and how does this tendency affect his reputation among the villagers o see more

About the Author

Philippa Gregory
Photo credit Santi U

Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her Cousins’ War novels are the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen. She studied history at the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.

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