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The Wise Woman

The Wise Woman

3.4 84
by Philippa Gregory

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory weaves an unforgettable tale of a young woman’s sorcery and desire in Henry VIII’s England, where magic, lust, and power are forever intertwined.

Growing up as an abandoned outcast on the moors, young Alys’ only company is her cruel foster mother, Morach, the local wise woman who is


#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory weaves an unforgettable tale of a young woman’s sorcery and desire in Henry VIII’s England, where magic, lust, and power are forever intertwined.

Growing up as an abandoned outcast on the moors, young Alys’ only company is her cruel foster mother, Morach, the local wise woman who is whispered to practice the dark arts. Alys joins a nunnery to escape the poverty and loneliness she has felt all her life, but all too soon her sanctuary is destroyed. King Henry VIII’s followers burn the holy place to the ground, and Alys only just manages to escape with her life, haunted by the screams of her sisters as they burned to death.

She finds work in a castle not far from where she grew up as an old lord’s scribe, where she falls obsessively in love with his son Hugo. But Hugo is already married to a proud woman named Catherine. Driven to desperation by her desire, she summons the most dangerous powers Morach taught her, but quickly the passionate triangle of Alys, Hugo, and Catherine begins to explode, launching them into uncharted sexual waters. The magic Alys has conjured now has a life of its own—a life that is horrifyingly and disastrously out of control.

Is she a witch? Since heresy means the stake, and witchcraft the rope, Alys is in mortal danger, treading a perilous path between her faith and her own power.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of the Wideacre trilogy presents a historical romance about a 16th-century English witch. (Dec.)
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.

Product Details

Publication date:
Historical Novels Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of many 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. Her most recent novel is Three Sisters, Three Queens. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds two honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and was awarded the 2016 Harrogate Festival Award for Contribution to Historical Fiction. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.

Brief Biography

Yorkshire, England
Date of Birth:
January 9, 1954
Place of Birth:
Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa
B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

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The Wise Woman 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
MrsChi619 More than 1 year ago
I'd first like to say that I'm huge fan of Ms. Gregory. However, I was completely dissapointed with this book. The story line is very good and I think it had alot of potenital. It's very hard to like a main character when she's such a horrible person. It was difficult for me to get into the story and root for something good to happen when Alys the main heroine is so unlikeable. Don't waste your money on this book. If this is the first book of Philippa Gregory choose another, The Other Boylen Girl, The Queens Fool, or The Constant Princess are very good try those first!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿ve read all of Phillipa Gregory¿s Tudor era historical novels, so I was delighted to find one that I hadn¿t seen before. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a book that had gone out of print for good reason. This novel tries to be too many things, and fails at being good at any one of them. The novel starts out as the tale of Alys, a young woman who joins a nunnery a few years before Henry VIII dissolves the monasteries in England. I originally thought that it was going to be the story of the struggle between the Church of Rome and the Church of England. But the story soon turns away from religion, and flounders into romance territory when Alys becomes the clerk for old Lord Hugh and falls under the wandering eye of young Lord Hugh and finds herself smitten. Then the plot suddenly takes a detour into the occult as Alys attempts to access her ¿female power¿ and cast spells. The novel flounders around, changing direction almost every chapter. Alys bounces around like a pinball, first she longs for her life as a nun, the next she is enjoying her sinful life too much to give it up. One minute she is hot to trot for young Lord Hugh, the next her passion has gone cold. One minute you think she has turned into a witch, the next she¿s back to wanting to be a nun again. And through it all the reader is subjected to a host of entirely unpleasant characters, the worst of which is the main character, Alys. I don¿t think that Gregory intended for her to be quite so unsympathetic, but it is hard to like such a selfish character. I would recommend Gregory¿s other Tudor era novels, but this one should be avoided.
redmagic More than 1 year ago
Philippa Gregory is an awesome writer and "The Red Queen" and "The Other Boleyn Girl" for example are books I could not put down. I was disappointed in "The Wise Woman" in that as I read along my dislike for the main character increased so much the book started to bore me. The content became more "out there" as the story went along and several pieces of the story "puzzle" seemed to get lost by the time the book was done leaving the reader to wonder what happened to those things. Too many loose ends and too hard to believe for my taste, but that won't stop me from reading other books from P. Gregory.
mrs_teacher_lady More than 1 year ago
I love Philippa Gregory so I read this novel, thinking it would be good. I was so wrong, so very wrong. It's not enought that Alys is truly a bad person, the plot is extradorinarily contrived. It follows so many tangents that I felt like I needed a map to get through. First it was this, then that, then something entirely different, before meandering to an entirely other thing. There were so many loose ends by the end of the book. And the ending is not only disturbing but absolutley pointless. I honestly can't think of anyone to which this book would appeal. The only redeeming quailty of this book is that it was written early in Gregory's career, nearly a decade before The Other Boleyn Girl. My advice: only read books she wrote this century.
JazzyBear More than 1 year ago
I have to say Ms. Gregory chose to tackle a very delicate subject..most which people tend to shy away from and do not even wish to discuss but the truth of the matter is that this subject was a very real aspect in those times and many people were killed and tortured for being thought of as "witches"--innocent people at that. In this book you tend to feel different emotions for the main character-which is great. You love her, then hate her, are appalled at her behavior, you pity her, then you are touched by her. I did not expect the ending that Ms. Gregory had for this book. I was so touched and saddened the book brought me to tears. Bravo Ms. Gregory another great peice!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Philippa Gregory, but this is my least favorite book of hers. It starts out really slow, I almost returned it after the first or second chapter, but it did pick up enough to want to finish the rest of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was depressing and the characters were not very endearing. Not the usual fair from Ms. Gregory. I love reading her wonderfully detailed books but this one left me cold!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was tedious to read, the ending was lame and an opportunity to creatively tie up one of the significant loose ends was missed. This will be my last Philippa Gregory novel...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By Philippa Gregory. Not her best, but by no means her worst. Definitly for the younger set, but has some steamy sex in it for some of us older women. Haha! It is at is best historically speaking, and has it all. You will hate most of the charactrs. As is the norm and the main reason I love Gregory! Charm us with these wicked ones , Ms. Gregory and I shall set down with a pint or two. I loved the candle wax blobs , Hilarious! Kept me in fits ! I had just about read it all at that point. Lol, you write em, I buy em! Charm me more, please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JanejaneBE More than 1 year ago
Too graphically sexual in parts to be enjoyed as work of Philippa Gregory, and the ending was guessed waaaay ahead of time. I prefer her usual, history mixed with fantasy style, with just enough sex to make it hum, but not so much that it offends the imagination. Seems it was trying to compete with 50 Shades of Gray............ Too bad. I won't give up on Gregory, though. Maybe next time will be awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a typical Phillppa Gregory book. It can tedious in parts and very repetitive with the obvious mental problems that the "heroine" had. Not one of my favorites.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was not what I expected. Such a good story when you think about it. This is not so black and white like most of her books. I got that the main character had some issues that manifested themselves in a shocking way to the reader. Read it with an open mind. You will love it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The was trash . I cant believe i wasted any time on it
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skygoddess2000 More than 1 year ago
This was the first novel I read of hers. I've been an avid fan since.
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