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on 18 June 2017
An excellent story told in an intriguing and compelling way: Different narrative strands introduce us to the characters of this novel, all acting in the London of Henry VIII, observing the developments at Court and going through their own life-changing adventures.
Winchester Goose is a term coined for prostitutes. The author does a splendid job at making the Goose in this novel very human, likeable and familiar. The writing style draws you into the characters immediately, long before you even understand fully who is talking and about whom.
I have long been a fan of Judith Arnopp and have yet to read a novel that disappoints. This novel provides a truly fresh perspective on Henry VIII and tells a human story of love and survival for the less privileged in Tudor London.
Magnificent.
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on 6 September 2014
There is much to commend in this book. It is an enjoyable romp which has some good characters and an engaging story. There are a few niggles though. We are looking at the lives of a family of prostitutes and yet none of them ever mention having been pregnant, giving birth or aborting an unwanted child. Clearly the mother of the three women, herself a career prostitute, had given birth on a number of occasions. Granted that the women in the book are malnourished and in poor health which may have affected them but methods of prevention at this time were likely to be rudimentary and inefficient. The Great Pox is also barely touched upon. Fear of contraction is mentioned once and then immediately forgotten. Given that the incidence of Syphilis in the 16th Century was very high and that lock hospitals came rather later, then we would surely have expected more mention and perhaps also seeing sufferers in the street even.There is some violence towards the women tackled but what about bawds and pimps? Even if the women were free agents, given that they are in Southwark then surely these would also have figured in their lives even if only as a nuisance? All in all niggles apart I did enjoy this book and would recommend it.
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on 9 July 2014
The Tudors have fascinated me since I was 10 years old, on a visit to The Tower of London with my parents ( I'm now 60). Since then, I have read every book, both Fact & Fiction, I could lay my hands on, watched documentaries and films, and visited places like Hever Castle & Hampton Court in my quest to find out as much as possible about the period. When I read the synopsis for The Winchester Goose, I was fascinated by the way the author approached the subject, and by the reviews the book had received. I started reading as soon as the book downloaded, and only put my Kindle down when I absolutely had to until I had finished it. During that time, thanks to Judith's style of writing, I have walked the streets of London with Joanie & her sisters, worried Eve when she went missing, and attended Court with Isabella. I feel I have a far better understanding of the period after seeing it from outside the Court as well as within. This may be fiction, but it is incredibly well written. I really appreciate the amount of research this book must have needed, and am now very much looking forward to the next one
One person found this helpful
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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.
2 people found this helpful
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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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on 20 February 2015
A great read which held my interest from start to finish. Also a very human story. For me, the support given by the women to each other was the overriding theme of this wonderful novel. Joanie Toogood is a fascinating character, the whore with a heart of gold. But I liked Isabella Bourne best. She grew in character as the novel progressed. No spoilers from me. You will have to read the book to find out if she achieves her goals. This was my first Judith Arnopp but it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to “A Song of Sixpence”, which will be released on 2nd March.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 March 2015
This tale of the contrasting lives of Southwark whores (the "geese" of the title) and ladies living at the Tudor court was fairly entertaining, though the characters were fairly one- and two-dimensional (albeit quite engaging in a couple of cases). There is a central murder mystery where the main male character in the first half meets a bloody end, and this is not resolved until near the very end, and then in a fairly throw away manner. The author is clearly much more concerned with the contrasting lives of the females in the plot and presents this competently, though it all seems a little simplistic. This said, there was enough here to make me feel I would read more by this author.
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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.
2 people found this helpful
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on 6 August 2014
Set against the background of Henry VIII skipping through his brides, The Winchester Goose is a character driven tale that never fails to entertain. The drama unfolds from the viewpoints of a prostitute, two ladies of Henry's court and a Jack the Lad who crosses all their paths. The historical detail is quite light, but plenty enough to create the atmosphere, as the characters take centre stage. The story moves along quickly and is captivating enough to hold the reader's interest. I can't say I was ever enthralled, but I enjoyed the period setting as the overlapping characters played their stories out.
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on 27 February 2018
Not as much insight into the history of the Winchester Geese as I was expecting. Nevertheless it was quite an interesting light read with a predictable happy ending.
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