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3.3 out of 5 stars
190
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 25 August 2017
A good story as you would expect from Philippa Gregory.
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on 14 February 2005
I have read other Phillipa Gregory novels and really enjoyed them, especially The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool. Sadly this book was a real let down. The historical detail is interesting but the characters are dislikable and behave in a bizarre fashion most of the time. The main character, Alys and the male lead Hugo, frankly deserve each other as they are self obsessed and self destructive. The book is full of explicit sex scenes far more so than the other novels by this author which I have read. I was not shocked by this but felt they added little to the narrative and proved a poor compensation for unadequate character development.
I do like the work of Phillipa Gregory but would not recommend this particular novel. If you want a good story read The Other Boleyn Girl, The Respectable Trade or The Queen's Fool and give this one a miss.
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on 29 July 2015
Philippa doesn't disappoint
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on 8 June 2016
great
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on 26 July 2016
I read a lot of Philippa Gregory books and she never lets you down .
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on 27 April 2016
Great read
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on 6 April 2017
easy to read but no a great ending. died a little into nothing
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on 22 May 2017
Perfect read
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on 13 June 2017
A reliably good read.
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on 19 June 2012
-This Review contains some spoilers-
The Wise Woman is a strange read (not in a good way)which starts off with the potential to be a brilliant story but somehow gets lost along the way.

My first problem with the book is the main character, Alys. She is not a particularly likeable character - in fact non of the characters in the book are. Alys is somewhat selfish and cruel, this in itself does not make the book bad, what makes this book bad is that after forcing myself towards the end of the book,I did not care what was going to happen to her.

Most of the characters, including Thomas, the old wise woman, her mother the nun all attempt to sacrifice a great deal for Alys - for reasons unknown to the reader. Even Catherine her potential love rival becomes fond of her. It is perhaps significant that the one man she wishes to love her, Hugo, is ridiculously fickle in his affections towards her and other women. He is another character who is unlikeable, whilst drunk Hugo burned the monastery in which Alys had lived killing all her sisters. Alys never even considers that he is the man who turned her world upside-down, she just falls stupidly in love with him because his face changed when he smiled? its just all a little unbelievable.

The end of the book is particularly disappointing, it is unexpected, and occurs very fast. After spending several hundred pages reading about Alys her last action seemed significantly out of character and unbelievable.

After building the book up with the threat of the return of the wax dolls, in addition to Hugo's impending marriage many questioned are left unanswered.The addition of the wax dolls to the story seem unneeded, I was expecting something much more extravagant to occur with them. Presumably, as Alys died and the wax dolls will have died with her, meaning that Hugo would not go blind, deaf or loose his fingers. However, that would also mean that Hugo's father would die, as Alys spelled his doll to make him strong and stay alive. This would mean that within the space of 2 days Hugo's wife, mistress and unborn child will have died, potentially ruining his marriage prospects with his betrothed?

The book gave the impression that Alys' vision of her married to Hugo with a son in the cradle, was the direction which the book was originally intended to go but that the author suddenly decided to take a different path. It also feels as if the book jumps as the old wise woman is suddenly moved to the castle her mother the nun is suddenly alive - WITH NO EXPLANATION AS TO HOW SHE ESCAPED !

I also expected some minor explanation as to who abandoned her on the old wise woman's doorstep? the village must have had some rumour as to who was pregnant. Perhaps Alys was created in a spell cast by the old wise woman? It is assumed that she possesses strong powers - even though she stated in the book that she did not have the power to make the wax dolls as strong as Alys had - yet when chased to her death she turns into a hare.

A very strange read, I would not recommend this book to anyone except to someone who wished to compare how Philippa Gregory later developed her writing skills!
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