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The Wise Woman: A Novel (1992)

by Philippa Gregory

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1,0063015,430 (3.26)22
Reissue of Philippa Gregory's disturbing novel of passion and betrayal in Tudor England. A haunting story of a woman's desire in a time of turbulence. Alys joins the nunnery to escape hardship and poverty but finds herself thrown back into the outside world when Henry VIII's wreckers destroy her sanctuary. With nothing to support her but her looks, her magic and her own instinctive cunning, Alys has to tread a perilous path between the faith of her childhood and her own female power. When she falls in love with Hugo, the feudal lord and another woman's husband, she dips into witchcraft to defeat her rival and to win her lover, but finds - as her cynical old foster-mother had advised - that magic makes a poor servant but a dominant master. Since heresy against the new church means the stake, and witchcraft the rope, Alys's danger is mortal. A woman's powers are no longer safe to use...… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Clearly not as good as her others. This main character is too selfish to connect to. Philippa adds the element of witchcraft, which takes away from the historical authenticity she usually has. ( )
  KAlberts | Jun 1, 2021 |
Alys was 12 when she found an abbey to live in and took her vows to become a nun. At 16, the abbey was burned to the ground during King Henry VIII's reign. She was the only one to escape and went back to live with her adopted "mother" Morach, a healer in a village nearby, because she had nowhere else to go for shelter. Alys is taken to the castle of Lord Hugh and becomes his scribe, but while trying to stay true to her vows in hopes of one day finding a new abbey, she is desperately drawn to Lord Hugh's son Hugo, although he is married. Alys also has some tricks up her sleeve that she learned from Morach.

I hated Alys! Often, when I hate a main character, I have trouble liking the book, but the story drew me in, and I thought it was really good. I thought about lowering my rating slightly because I hated Alys so much, but the draw of the story won out for me. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 26, 2021 |
I have read many of Philippa Gregory's books and thought they were all excellent, but not this one. I was really disappointed in it. I didn't like any of the characters. The book is called The Wise Woman, but there wasn't a single wise woman in it.

The characters all seemed to be the same from start to finish, the main character Ann/Alys did something at the very end that one may say redeemed her, but to me it just seemed like the author needed to wrap things up and it was an easy way out.

Morach, the wise woman of Bowes Moor seemed to change as the plot dictated from wise woman, to witch. First not using black magic and then giving in. But it made no sense. Her treatment of Ann/Alys made no sense either. She treated her badly. When she discovered Ann/Alys was able to tap into supernatural powers, she did little to guide her. Just as she did little to guide her from the time she came under her care.

I'm not sure what the point of the book was supposed to be...that black magic is bad with unintended consequences, that denouncing your religion (Catholicism) brings deadly consequences, that it's a man's world and women will never be able to get what they want... I just don't know.

I read it all the way through waiting for some revelation, but found none. I should have given up on it when I was a quarter of the way through when I first decided it was going no where. ( )
  jezebellydancer | Oct 22, 2019 |
This was a chunkster of a book(aka a doorstop) and it kept me entertained through most of the book. It was a bit romance, a bit historical fiction and a bit mystical. ( )
  PamV | Mar 27, 2018 |
Enjoyed the first half, in the second half Alys became too evil for my taste ... ( )
  EvaW | Apr 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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In my dream I smelled the dark sulphurous stink of a passing witch and I pulled up the coarse blanket over my head and whispered, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us" to shield me from my nightmare of terror.
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Reissue of Philippa Gregory's disturbing novel of passion and betrayal in Tudor England. A haunting story of a woman's desire in a time of turbulence. Alys joins the nunnery to escape hardship and poverty but finds herself thrown back into the outside world when Henry VIII's wreckers destroy her sanctuary. With nothing to support her but her looks, her magic and her own instinctive cunning, Alys has to tread a perilous path between the faith of her childhood and her own female power. When she falls in love with Hugo, the feudal lord and another woman's husband, she dips into witchcraft to defeat her rival and to win her lover, but finds - as her cynical old foster-mother had advised - that magic makes a poor servant but a dominant master. Since heresy against the new church means the stake, and witchcraft the rope, Alys's danger is mortal. A woman's powers are no longer safe to use...

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