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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peasant, girlThu, rises through the Ranks to Kings Concubine
This extremely well-written prose by Pauline Gedge was a pleasure and delight to read. The writer's technique of using the English language to describe ancient egypt and events in this book is astounding! The peasant, Thu, growing up with her poor egyptian family, has high dreams for herself & is not content to be a mere "woman" in egyptian society or...
Published on 25 Jun. 1999

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ah, Horror upon Horrors!
Lady Thu, Lady Thu, Lady Thu. The entire Lady of the Reeds revolves like a spinning top or like those tiles in old cathedrals around Lady Thu. It is so unfortunate, then, as to how unpitiable the "ambitious" witch was made out. As the book progressed, I had to ask myself, "Where is the author of the Twelfth Transforming? Where is Pauline of the Child of...
Published on 15 Nov. 1997


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peasant, girlThu, rises through the Ranks to Kings Concubine, 25 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
This extremely well-written prose by Pauline Gedge was a pleasure and delight to read. The writer's technique of using the English language to describe ancient egypt and events in this book is astounding! The peasant, Thu, growing up with her poor egyptian family, has high dreams for herself & is not content to be a mere "woman" in egyptian society or a midwife as her mother before her. She attains her dreams after all, but not in the way she would hope. She rises up from a life of poverty on her parents farm in the Delta through the help and mystery of the Seer, Hui, a strange, magical, man with long white hair and red piercing eyes. She befriends him, eventually loves him like a father, & leaves her home to take on several exciting, interesting and intriguing phases of her life before finally, realizing she is all along being prepared for a special mission in life. Partially by design and partially by deception by the people she loves, she attains royal residence as a concubine of the Pharaoh. She finds this submissive, royal, life unaccepting for a beautiful young woman, just being one of many favored by Pharaoh. The book is intriguing until the end and I would recommend this book highly. This is my first Pauline Gedge novel and I will now read all of them!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gedge brings Ancient Egypt to Glorious Life Again, 25 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
Since I was 13, and read Child of the Morning, Pauline Gedge has been my favourite author. Now, nearly 20 years later, she continues to dazzle with Lady Of The Reeds (or House of Dreams in Canada). When I read her words, I can feel the heat of the sun and the breezes off the Nile; smell the sandlewood and jasmine; see the palaces, villages, and homes of the people she writes about. I loved this book and sequel with a fierce passion - for 4 days this summer I did not move off the deck, while I read them both. Thu may have been written as a character whose own character is less than lovable, but she charms you so completely that you really care about what happens to her, and hope that everything works out well. She is the perfect anti-heroine who proves that it's not just men who can be rather unlikeable and still have us cheering for them. It has never been acceptable for a woman to be seen in that light. Heroines have always had to be lily-white paragons of such virtues as kindness, gentleness, and are most certainly not allowed any ambition. Thu defies all those stereotypes, and makes us love her for it. I say Bravo! Ms. Gedge, and I only wish there could be more books about the fabulous Thu!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queen of historical fiction, 9 July 2013
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
This book was also published under the title House of dreams.

Of all Gedge's novels, this is possibly the series where she changes the most, historically. This book, and the sequel, are based on the harem plot to murder Ramesses III (detailed in the Turin papyrus).

Generally speaking, I prefer my historical fiction to be as accurate as possible, but my primary concern is always whether or not a story is well-written, and Pauline Gedge always writes a darn good book. She's one of those consistently good authors who I know is always going to provide me with an exceptional read. As per usual, Gedge's sheer mastery over the English, her flair and inventive usage was delightful and a pleasure to read. Somehow Gedge always creates unexpected and surprising plot twists too, even though she writes historical fiction and I'm aware of the historical facts. Thu, Hui, and the other characters are perfectly formed - deep, subtle, complex characters revealed piece by piece through show rather than tell. And Gedge's novels always feel authentic even when she changes details - or later research contradicts what she wrote - she recreates all the ambiguity and complexity of real life instead of glossing over and simplifying the story, and Gedge, more than any other author I've ever read, understands the zeitgeist of ancient Egypt and the way ancient Egyptians thought about themselves and the world.

Thu in particular is remarkably appealing - I wasn't sure, before I started reading, if Gedge, much as I trust her consistent good work, could really write a book with someone who, historically, was a conspirator to murder, as the protagonist and make me empathise with her character. Well, she can. Thu aspires for a better life than the obvious path laid out for her and the circumstances she is born into. She has ambition to improve her lot and she wants more from life. When life's luxuries are handed to her on a plate, like anyone who's been through hardship, can we really blame her for seizing them and revelling in them? Thu is incredibly human. She callously steps on others to achieve these dreams of a better life, and it's reprehensible, but as a reader there's a mixture of horror at what she does and identifying with her aspirations. Even Thu's most reprehensible acts are driven by understandable emotions and the bad things that happen to her, and whilst most of us probably wouldn't act as she does, I think the basic emotions of hurt, betrayal, and desperation are the same. Thu's distress feels palpable. She aspires to universal dreams, and is betrayed by those she trusts and abandoned by those she loves. I didn't quite root for her in the same way I did for Hatshepsut in Child of the Morning, Tiye in The Twelfth Transforming, Caradoc in The Eagle and the Raven, and Ahmose, Kamose, and Aahmes-Nefertari in Lords of the Two Lands, but I wanted her to succeed in creating a better life for herself, and I understood and sympathised with her. The story is definitely a tragedy, written in raw emotion.

Pauline Gedge definitely reigns supreme over ancient Egypt historical fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ancient Egyptian Cinderella story, 13 Dec. 2008
By 
gilly8 "gilly8" (Mars, the hotspot of the U.S.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
This is a Cinderella story about a peasant girl who becomes a favorite of the pharaoh in his harem. This is a completely fictional tale, unlike many of Pauline Gedge's books.

The lives of the peasants of ancient Egypt are brought to life most believably. The father of Thu is a non-Egyptian, a light skinned, blue eyed former soldier, a mercenary, who settled in Egypt after his years of service were done. His daughter, therefore, has looks that are not quite ordinary for a village girl.

Thu, a young girl with great ambition, ends up, like a Cinderella, in the arms of the Pharaoh. But, unlike a typical romance this is not the man she loves, nor does he truly love her. There are many twists and turns, as Thu is trained to become a beautiful sophisticated concubine for the Pharaoh. This is NOT the typical poor girl meets rich man and lives happily ever after novel.

Fascinating for its' insight into life in an Egyptian harem, as well as the village life where Thu originated. The ostentatious wealth of Egyptian nobility and royalty and the peak of Egypt's wealth and power, are brought to life believably and vividly.

The ending is a surprise, which don't let anyone spoil for you!

NOTE: the book is also titled "The House of Dreams" and the sequel is "The House of Illusion."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Thu surpasses all obstacles until she is deceived., 27 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
Lady Thu, once a poor child from Aswat, attains the highest place a woman can obtain by becoming the Pharoh's concubine. She is not royalty and therefore her child is not recognized as Pharoh's first son. Lady Thu is deceived by those who she loves and is suddenly thrown into the dungeon and condemmed to die. Her life is spared by Pharoh and she returns home in shame. Although Pauline Gedge ends the story at this point, there could be a sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Great, 14 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
This is the second book of Pauline that I read, and, from this on I started to look for all her books. I love the way she writes, the way she makes you live the story. This book is fantastic, you cry, you laugh, you feel everything that's happening. Thu suffer and I suffer, Thu learn and I learn. You have to read to understand what I'm saying
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you longing to read the sequel...., 2 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
I absolutely LOVED this book! You could completely understand Thu's point of view. I have been searching for the sequel which I hope will be just as fascinating!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!, 27 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
This book is wonderful! The story is so well told that I actually feel as if I'm in Egypt. The details are exquisite and beautiful. In fact, it is because of Pauline Gedge's books that I'm planning a trip to Egypt next summer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 29 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
A fast paced story of the rise and fall of a concubine and physician of Ramses III. Thu is utterly human in her decisions and actions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tale of Ancient Egypt, 18 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Lady of the Reeds (Hera) (Paperback)
I have been reading Pauline Gedge for fifteen years--starting with "The Eagle and the Raven". I have enjoyed her historical novels of Ancient Egypt the most. I was entranced with "House of Dreams" and have since read the sequel "House of Illusions". I feel that they are excellent 'reads' and rank as A+ along with 'Child of the Morning' and 'The Twelfth Transforming'. I can't wait to begin 'The Hippopotamus Marsh'--her latest offering!
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Lady of the Reeds (Hera)
Lady of the Reeds (Hera) by Pauline Gedge (Paperback - 1 Jan. 1998)
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