By Philippa Gregory
Reading Group Discussion Guide INTRODUCTION
Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her family name and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral heritage. Seduction, betrayal, even murder -- Beatrice's passion is without apology or conscience. "She is a Lacey of Wideacre," her father warns, "and whatever she does, however she behaves, will always
be fitting." Yet even as Beatrice's scheming seems about to yield her dream, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extent of her plans...and her capacity for evil.
Sumptuously set in Georgian England, Wideacre
is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of color and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistible in its singular magic as its heroine. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. "I am a Lacey of Wideacre, and my place is on the land!" How does Beatrice's devotion to her family's land enable her, at a very early age, to assume an untraditional role in her family? How does her mother feel about Beatrice's being raised with these liberties, and what informs her attitudes toward her daughter?
2. What role does the English law of primogeniture, in which the eldest son inherits the family land, play in Beatrice's feelings about Wideacre? How do the consequences of th