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Concluding the bestselling trilogy that began with Wideacre and The Favored Child, this passionate story tells of a young woman's struggle from poverty to wealth in Georgian England. "Gregory brings down the curtain on her Lacey family trilogy in breathlessly dramatic form. . . ."--Kirkus.
Pittsburgh Press Captivating.
Chattanooga News-Free Press Compelling, absorbing...an unforgettable page-turner.
By Philippa Gregory
Reading Group Discussion Guide
Meridon knows she does not belong in the dirty, vagabond life of a gypsy bareback rider. The half-remembered vision of another life STAYS WITH HER, even as her beloved sister, Dandy, risks everything for their future. Alone, Meridon follows the PROMPTING of her dream, riding in the moonlight past the rusted gates, up the winding drive to a house -- clutching the golden clasp of the necklace that was her birthright -- home at last to Wideacre. The lost heir to one of England's great estates would take her place as its mistress...
Crowning the extraordinary trilogy that began with Wideacre and The Favored Child, Meridon is a rich, impassioned tapestry of a young woman's journey from dreams to glittering drawing rooms and elaborate deceits...from a simple hope to a deep and fulfilling love. Set in the savage contrasts of Georgian England -- a time alive with treachery, grandeur, and intrigue -- Meridon is Philippa Gregory's masterwork.
1. How does Meridon's gypsy life with Dandy, Da, and Zima compare with the world of "Wide" that she imagines? What explains her faith in the existence of this mysterious place that she calls her home and her refuge?
2. To what extent do Meridon and Dandy's lives change for the better when Robert Gower takes them on as part of his Amazing Aerial and Equestrian Show? How does Meridon's involvement in this show give her an enhanced sense of belonging and family? What aspects of her participation contribute to her increased isolation?
3. "Her name is Sarah! Sarah..." How does Meridon's true identity as Sarah Lacey, daughter of landed gentry and true heir to Wideacre, reveal itself over the course of the novel? How does her Quality background betray itself before the facts of her identity are known to her?
4. What explains the intense closeness Meridon feels toward her adopted sister, Dandy? How does Dandy's death affect Meridon, and how do her feelings for Dandy influence her relationships with others, both romantic and platonic?
5. "At the foot of the hill I could see the village. My village. The village my Mama had known. I saw it through my eyes, I saw it through her eyes." How does Meridon come into possession of Wideacre, and what role does her mother (and her mother's guardian James Fortescue) play in that transformation?
6. As a gypsy, Meridon has known poverty and hardship, but as Sarah Lacey, she comes to enjoy luxury and extreme affluence. How does Sarah's ownership of Wideacre affect her attitudes and views about the differences between the Quality and common folk?
7. Lady Clara Havering tells Sarah: "We live in a world where money is the measure of everything. There is never enough money. However much you have, you always want more." How do Sarah's experiences with Perry and Lady Clara bear out this statement? How do the Haverings's HAVERINGS" efforts to acquire land and wealth differ from Sarah's efforts?
8. Sarah is willing to marry Perry Havering because she believes she can dominate him and successfully control her land, not because she loves him. Why might such a practice (the loveless marriage) have been practiced in Georgian England? To what extent do you think Sarah's decision is driven by greed?
9. "I was never going to fall out of the charmed circle of the rich. I was never going to be poor again." What might explain Sarah's lack of sympathy for the poor in her midst? What does being poor represent to her? To what extent is Sarah's resolve to remain wealthy and index of her fear of the alternative?
10. As a young girl, Meridon asks an old fortuneteller: "Will I become a lady? Will I find my home?" and the fortuneteller replies with this riddle about Meridon's ancestors: "You'll belong to their land in a way they never could." How does the climactic end of Meridon fulfill the fortuneteller's prophecy in an unexpected way, and what role does Will Tyacke play in this development?
ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB
Please visit Philippa Gregory's own site with an active readers' group at Philippa Gregory.com.
1. To listen to an interview with Philippa Gregory, author of Meridon, in which she discusses her involvement with readers of her books, visit: barnesandnoble.com/writers/writer.asp?cid=934860&cds2Pid=280&linkid=591638
2. If you were intrigued by Meridon's exploits as a member of Robert Gower's aerial and equestrian show, visit bobby-roberts.co.uk/history.htm to learn more about the history of the circus in England.
3. To learn more about the social conditions that enabled Sarah Lacey to catch typhus, visit victorianweb.org/science/health/health10.html and read up on infectious diseases of the 19th century.
Posted January 28, 2013
I couldnt put this book down and finished it in record time. This series from ms Gregory definitly did not disappoint. The way that she describes her characters and the situations makes it possible for you to get lost in the story, your imagination running wild. I just wish that there was more to the series, I didnt want it to end!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2012
I love this book. Gregory has a way of making you completely disagree with the main character's actions at times but still wanting her to prevail in the end. The first novel in the trilogy (Wideacre), I agree, was mildy disturbing. I think the second novel (The Favored Child) brings the story to a great place with Meridon as the main character. I would definitely recommend this book. While you probably could read it without having read the first two novels, I would recommend reading the entire series. Philippa Gregory is a great storyteller!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 14, 2012
Posted April 10, 2011
Posted March 23, 2011
Posted December 29, 2010
A good read. Even though the first third of the novel goes into great detail about Meridon's life in the circus, you learn of it's significance toward the end of the novel. The story seamlessly blends into the new life of Meridon once she gets back to her home turf, Wideacre, but there seems to be a gap in the story that doesn't fully explain (to my satisfaction) how Meridon, not knowing about her roots, came to 'yearn' for Wideacre. She was given away at birth to Gypsy's and later sold to a circus manager, so where does the yearning stem from? (This is not a spoiler; her being given away to Gypsy's is told in the 2nd novel "A Favored Child"). If she was born with an insightful "gift" as her grandmother, then this novel failed to expound on that as it was done in the 1st & 2nd novels. Beside that, Phillpa Gregary does a very good job in introducing new characters in the story whose behaviors are more deviant, giving the novel more spice. I found myself unable to put the book down, as usual with any of Gregory's novels. Although my favorite of the trilogy was "Wideacre", this novel put a satisfying closure to the trilogy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I read the first 2 in the trilogy and they were amazing. This one does not fail to follow in that path. Very exciting characters and Philippa Gregory's writing always keeps you engrossed. Totally different story ...very interesting and you just want to keep on reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
After reading all of the Henry VIII/Boleyn series, I thought I would try Ms. Gregory's earlier efforts. The difference in the writing, plots, and character development was astounding. The first three (The Wideacre Trilogy: Wideacre, The Favored Child, and Meridon) seemed to be written for a much different audience, one interested in titillating, illicit romance stories with, for the most part, flat, unsympathetic characters. How she managed to stretch this absurd story line through more than 1500 pages is beyond me. The maturity of her more recent work is certainly not predicted here. Although Meridon was the best of the three works, with fewer two-dimensional characters and a little less absurd plot, it was still far inferior to Ms. Gregory's historical fiction.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2009
Posted September 29, 2008
I read meridon a while back and i thought to myself how did i not put in a review for this book?! it was amazing. Didnt want it to end. I would have to say that if i had to rate which one was my absolute favorite...It would have to be wideacre book 1 of the trilogy. Philippa gregory brings her characters to life. She is incredible and i am so excited to see new work out by her! ladies and gentleman, if you read a bad review for this book....Ignore it....They dont know what they are talking about!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2008
When I was reading inside the book it said 'one of her best books yet',good thing I've already read three other ones of Philippa Gregory or I would have been scared to read the others books she's written.I saw it all coming before I even got to half the pages,plus at times it bored me. I'm usually good about reading them quickly this one I sometimes dreaded picking back up,I had to make myself.I always make myself a promise I'm not allowed to buy another book til I've finished the new one I bought,in fact I bought this one discounted I'm glad, I did. I would have been so mad to pay full price for it.Don't get me wrong it did pick up and get better towards the end either that or I was so glad to be done with it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2008
This was by far the best book and you really don't need to read other two, but I would recommend reading them in order. Meridon goes from a gypsy to a lady of quality, living in both worlds not knowing who she is and then in the end she finds herself and finally sticks up for herself. The ending finally closes the trilogy and while you may be able to guess it, it was nice after the other two books leaving things unfinished. Meridon becomes a strong woman and thank god after so many times during the novel, I got annoyed with her weaknest.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 31, 2007
In my opinion, Wideacre and The Favored Child were better stories...more compelling to read. This book was easier to put down and I didn't have the same desire to keep turning the pages. Though this entire series is very 'dark' fiction, I applaud the talents of Ms. Gregory. I do wonder how Meridon/Sarah could have turned out as she did considering her genetic background.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2007
Posted May 22, 2007
I tought it was a wonderful ending! It was such a good way to wrap up the trilogy. Both the first one and the second one had sad endings (in a way) while this one ended happily! It was great!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2007
I ablsolutely loved this books. It gave the Wideacre trilogy the eact ending that it needed and deserved. and once again the charactors of Ms. Gregory's novel were never boring or dull. Bravo!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 21, 2006
This book is the final in the Wideacre Trilogy. It was just as emotional and compelling as the first 2 books, but the Lacey family finally gets a happy ending with Sarah/Meridon. I recommend this trilogy to lovers of historical fiction. I am sad that it is over!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 8, 2005
This was definatly the ending I was exspecting, I am so glad that I continued to read all the way through the 3 books. You may have been disgusted by beatrice in the 1st book and wanted to yell at Julias stupidity in the second but Meridon in the 3rd really makes up for it all!!! I encourage you to read it!!! Enjoy!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2004
Not as good as the favoured child but still tons better than Wideacre - It would have been fantastic if it had tied up the loose ends left at the end of 'The Favoured Child'and if there were more connections in the storyline to 'Julia Lacey' I was very disappointed Philippa Gregory did not do this. However it did have a fantastic end which made up for what it lacked. Really sad to finish it as it meant the whole trilogy was over.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2003
This book is exactly what was needed to wrap up the dark, captivating Lacey saga-- Meridon is a classic Lacey, as thoroughly deceitful as her grandmother but smart enough to see past all the phoniness in her world. She is an amazing character and the romance and plot twists in this book are sensational! I never wanted it to end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.