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The Wise Woman: A Novel Paperback – May 27 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (May 27 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416590889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416590880
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #153,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The author of the Wideacre trilogy presents a historical romance about a 16th-century English witch.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This new novel by the author of Wideacre (S. & S., 1987) and other popular historical fiction profiles a woman versed in charms, conjuring, and fortune-telling who nonetheless falls into catastrophic misfortunes time after time. Escaping from an English convent, young Alys learns the arts of healing and magic from the "wise woman" who takes her in. Her struggle to find an independent life takes her among an array of characters, including a mediocre lover, a sickly old man still very much in control of the lives around him, and two challenging women: Marach and Mother Hildebrande. Gregory weaves a vivid tapestry of life in the 16th century, including plenty of sex, as the narrative strains toward a not-unexpected end.
- M.E. Chitty, Fairchild International Lib. Inst. , Plainfield, N.J.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Cousins on May 25 2009
Format: Paperback
After reading all of Philippa Gregory's Tudor novels and becoming addicted to her stories and her style, I expected to enjoy The Wise Woman. I started the book wanting to like the main character and kept reading in the hope that she would come to some type of redemption - alright, I guess you could make a point of saying that the very end of the book was a redemption of sorts, but what an unsatisfactory one! So much could have been done with this character. What I discovered was a book that became increasingly difficult to read. There are aspects of this book that are just downright nasty. There are times when Gregory seems to be pushing things to see just how much she can "gross out" her readers with details that are just unnecessary. With intrigue, history, religion, superstition, and sex, this book could have been an beguilingly good read. I did finish it but was quite happy to be done, an experience unlike that with other Gregory novels. Hugely disappointing and definitely not recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By buyer on Aug. 9 2005
Format: Paperback
While this book is not like her other historical fictions, it is still one of the best books I have read in a long time. I loved it so much I bought one for my Mom, Aunt and best friend, all of them also loved it. This book is a little twisted, but in a very real way. You can completely relate with the main character as she makes one bad decision after another that leads her down a trail of witchcraft, seduction, betrayal and deciept... The historical information is there but more importantly and more outstanding is the fantastic tale that is woven from the day a little girl takes her first steps alone all the way to the final leap as she realizes what is truely important... I don't understand why those other two reviews were so bad. If you like Anne Rice or Wilbur Smith's writing you'll love this. All the great story writing of both without the overly boring descriptives that can drag on in Rice's work or the lack there of in Smith's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paula C. Aird on April 11 2010
Format: Paperback
Certainly not as enjoyable as 'The Other Boleyn Girl' by same author. In fact at times I thought it got down right creepy. At the very end perhaps, Alys tries to redeem herself but in such a dramatic way it was unfulfilling.
The book depicts a depraved justice system as well as negative attitudes towards women at the time. The two main female characters in the book derived worth from the fact that they were pregnant with a son presumably.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book Worm on Nov. 15 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm glad I found and read this book before reading the reviews on here. I for the most part, completely disagree with them. The points I agree with.....

1. This book is for mature readers only.
2. This is her edgiest work yet.

While others found the subject matter off-putting, I was just the opposite. I found it hugely entertaining and so completely engrossing that once I started this novel, I couldn't put it down for a second. One section in particular, I won't elaborate and spoil the story, actually made my skin crawl. I can't remember the last time a book had that effect on me. Maybe the difference is that I don't actually believe in witch craft or spiritual powers, and therefore saw it as a completely fictional story. I was able to just enjoy the plot, rather than worrying about the subject matter.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is mature enough to deal with the subject matter. Hard Core Witch Craft, Intense sex and Unrepentant violence. I equate it to just about any HBO show, so if you like HBO, you'll probably like this book.

Also, if you enjoyed this book, you'll really like the "Wideacre" trilogy (also by Phillipa Gregory). It is more tame than 'the wise woman', but it has some pretty crazy plot lines of it's own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By v. rubin on May 15 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was hard to read for a few differnt reasons ,it was hard to believe at points , was really gross at times,the story at times is so over the top. I would not read this book again and would not recommend it.
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By Barbara TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 4 2011
Format: Paperback
I really didn't care for this book. If this is the first Philippa Gregory book you've read, please don't be put off because it's nothing like her other great works.

That said, I did realize this book was a departure. Even its edgeness didn't put me off, I was expecting some spells and witchcraft.

What put me off was believing in the main character's motivation. I couldn't get around the idea that a girl who had no knowledge of her hertitage and who was first raised in terrible poverty and then taken in with great love at a nunnery could end up being such a deceitful grasping liar. It didn't jive. Even later when Alys' madness becomes evident her desires for position and power weren't well enough grounded with a good reason for me to believe it.

Yes, the book was a page turner. I wanted to know what was going to happen. But half way through the book, as other reviewers noted, the book takes a dark turn--which I wasn't expecting--and Alys character becomes progressively less likeable from that point on. Then, as another reviewer pointed out, we cease to care what happened to her. Even a dark character can have some likeable part about them but I believe Alys fails to hold the reader to root for her whether she's good or bad.

Her redemption at the end is even barely believeable from a character who flip flops her loyalties one minute to the next.

There wasn't a lot of historical info on the Tudors but there were interesting descriptions of castle life, clothing, and meal time traditions that were nicely blended into the story.

This book was okay, but at the half way point I read it quickly and skipped pages just to finish.
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