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4.4 out of 5 stars82
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on 28 November 2012
Set within the sumptuous perils of King Henry Vlll's court and the downtrodden dangers of the bawdy houses of Old London Town, The Winchester Goose is a fascinating tale of love, betrayal, and the expectations and machinations of court life, coupled with the hand-to-mouth existence of the poor.

Two gently-born young ladies, Isabella and Evelyn Bourne, become ladies-in-waiting to King Henry's new queen, Anna of Cleves. Yet courtly life is not as easy and comfortable as it might appear. Their lives and their fate become inextricably linked with one Joanie Toogood, a Winchester Goose (or prostitute) who plies her trade in the stews on the other side of London Bridge.

This novel gives a fascinating insight into what life was like in Tudor times, both for the rich and the poor. Judith Arnopp's prose invokes the smell of the Thames, the cries of costermongers, and the stately strains of court music. You will also hear the thud of the headman's axe, and low whispers in dark corridors as secrets pass between court spies.

If you like your historical novels rich with lust, danger and drama then I can thoroughly recommend The Winchester Goose, the latest book by historical novelist Judith Arnopp.
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on 30 December 2012
For all who love to read about Tudor London, Arnopp's new novel is a must. Although it is set at the time of Henry VIII's court,it is not the usual tale of courtiers, but is set in the mean streets of Southwark, where the girls of easy virtue known as the Winchester Geese ply their wares. The main character Joanie Toogood is a woman easy to like, and seems set for a life as a prostitute, until she meets the happy go lucky Francis Wareham...who is involved in work for the King's secretary Thomas Cromwell.
Arnopp weaves a credible and intriguing tale which moves from the Queen's household to the back streets, and the story holds the interest until the very end.
Don't miss it.
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on 29 November 2012
We are used to books set in the times of HenryIII, it is a fascinating period and his court is full of interest and intrigue, not least because of the activities of Thomas Cromwell. However, we are not so accustomed to becoming involved in the goings -on across the river from Henry's court, where the local prostitutes known as 'The Winchester Geese' ply their trade on Bankside. In this fascinating book the wonderful character Joanie Toogood has worked the streets since childhood, but her life is changed forever when she encounters Francis Wareham, Cromwell's spy. Back at court, Wareham has also set his cap at Evelyn and Isabella Bourne, members of the Queen's household, and the girls, along with Joanie, are drawn into the intrigue and shadow of the executioners blade.
As with all of Arnopp's novels, this is beautifully written drama with the 'unputdownable' quality we have come to expect.
Don't miss it.
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on 22 August 2013
Moves through life in the uncertain world of Henrician London with pace and gusto. A range of carefully crafted characters reflect all levels of society, showing the effects of the Reformation on a number of vulnerable women including Henry's fifth queen Katherine Howard.
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on 23 June 2013
This is the first book I have read by this author but it certainly won't be the last. Her characters are believable and well-drawn in a sympathetic style. I liked the different approach to life at the Tudor court and also what some of the characters got up to out of it where two completely different worlds met and mingled. The plot is good and carries the reader along at a fine pace and I was sorry to finish it. So why only 4 stars? I felt that the ending was rather rushed and somewhat implausible depending as it did upon an uncertain (to my mind) identification. But do not let that put you off - it is very well worth the read, and I look forward to the follow-up.
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on 29 May 2013
Through the actions of an unfaithful husband, the worlds of the Tudor court and the Southwark stews become inextricably linked.
But things are not what they seem - The Tudor court is rife with politics and intrigue, whilst a Southwark whore with a generous spirit personifies compassion. Joanie (the prostitute) takes responsibility for her actions in a way that puts her betters to shame - the only thing is they have the money and power, whilst she slowly starves.
All manner of life is here, from sisterly love, to motherly compassion, from lecherous men to dull husbands - a story of people making do in difficult circumstances and nobility in unusual places.
This is an uplifting novel about the richness of the human spirit, set in a Tudor world evocatively summoned by Ms Arnopp's words. I was drawn to this book after reading a summary and my expectations were exceeded to the point that I was disappointed (but thoroughly satisfied) when the book ended. Highly recommended.
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on 29 December 2012
i loved this book from the first, the characters are memorable , the plot is unique, i couldnt put it down once i started reading it.. a brilliant read once more from my favorite author ..
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on 13 December 2013
I love historical novels and loved this. Written in an easy to read style about a period of history of which I knew only the basics. A blend of fact and fiction I found this a book that I read quickly as I kept wanting to get back to it. I've bought another one of Judith Arnopp's books as a result, too.
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on 26 June 2013
After being a bit `bogged` down with historical detail this book was refreshing funny and sad a good read thank you .
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on 29 December 2014
I read this book in less than two days as I simply couldn't put it down The characters involved in the story brought tears to my eyes as I was swept along through Tudor England and the lives of the people who lived it. Joanne Toogood, the Winchester goose with a heart of gold is the one character I engaged with most, she was a tart with a Hart! The whole story from beginning to end was a compelling tale of love, lust, violence and heartbreak and I lived amongst it being swept along with every single word into the other side of Tudor England. I would love to see a follow up to this book as I fell in love with the Bournes as well as Joanie. Judith Arnopp works her magic yet again, just brilliant!
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