Meridon, a desolate Romany girl, is determined to escape the hard poverty of her childhood. Riding bareback in a travelling show, while her sister Dandy risks her life on the trapeze, Meridon dedicates herself to freeing them both from danger and want. But Dandy, beautiful, impatient, thieving, grabs too much, too quickly.

And Meridon finds herself alone, riding in bitter grief through the rich Sussex farmlands towards a house called Wideacre – which awaits the return of the last of the Laceys. Sweeping, passionate, unique: Meridon completes Philippa Gregory’s bestselling trilogy which began with Wideacre and continued with The Favoured Child.

Behind the book

Released in 1990

This was the book that I was longing to write from the moment that I finished Wideacre as it was the conclusion of the story and the happy ending. I had a wonderful summer of research when I stayed with a circus for the summer season and travelled with them and worked as a circus hand so that I could understand the life. The Wiltshire sequences are set in a well-loved house near Warminster where I used to stay as a child, and the return to Wideacre took me back to my beloved Sussex. The London sequences I traced out walking around London with a valuable 18th century map as my A to Z, seeing where Meridon might live and how she would ride in the park. It was a hugely joyful book to write and I foresaw in it a happy time for myself, and the horse that I bought after writing about Meridon's beloved grey horse: my own grey horse, Comet.

Book opens in 1805

As the nineteenth century opens, the Industrial Revolution is gaining momentum and driving significant economic and social change throughout Great Britain. This combined with the ongoing expansion of the British Empire has led to the United Kingdom becoming the richest and most powerful country in the world. As a result, it is facing threats from its old enemies - Napoleon's France and Spain. Within England, the Industrial Revolution is transforming the economy and leading to a widening gap between the rich and poor. Social dissatisfaction and unrest is increasing.


Daily Express

"In other hands this would be a conventional historical romance. But Ms Gregory uses her historical knowledge of the haves and the have-nots of those times to weave a much more subtle and exciting story"

Publishers Weekly

"The hard-won homecoming in this historical novel is richly developed and impassioned."

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"Compelling….Philippa Gregory reigns supreme as the mistress of historical drama."


"breathlessly dramatic....the heroine beguiles"

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