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The Wise Woman


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Reissue of Philippa Gregory's disturbing novel of passion and betrayal in Tudor England. / Philippa Gregory is now one of the most successful historical novelists writing today. / 'The Other Boleyn Girl' has now sold nearly 350,000 copies in paperback. / 'The Virgin's Lover' has sold 50,000 hardback copies to date and has been a bestseller in the UK, the US, and Number One in New Zealand. / Film versions of 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and 'The Queen's Fool' are in development. / Now reissued in a sumptuous new package. / The author is well known for her appearances on TV, as a Tudor expert and a regular on Time Team, and her frequent participation on Radio 4's Round Britian Quiz. / Competition: Hilary Mantel, Deborah Moggach, Reay Tannahill

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is an established writer and broadcaster for radio and television. She holds a PhD in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. She lives in the North of England with her family.


The author of the Wideacre trilogy offers another intense, absorbing tale, a grisly drama of passion and witchcraft in 16th-century England. Growing up as an ill-used apprentice to Morach, the much-feared wise woman of the moors, Alys finds respite by joining an order of Catholic nuns. When young Lord Hugo and his men burn the abbey to the ground during a drunken rampage, Alys is the only one to escape; she flees back to Morach, consumed with guilt at having abandoned her dying sisters. Summoned to minister to Lord Hugh, Hugo's father, Alys soon finds herself deeply involved in the treachery and intrigue surrounding the old man's attempts to have his son's marriage to the barren Lady Catherine annulled. Attracted to Hugo despite his murderous past, Alys begins to practice witchcraft in earnest to rid him of Catherine and become his wife. Her spells work all too well: Catherine's long-awaited pregnancy ends disastrously, and Hugo comes to love Alys, but in a sickly haze of lust that provides no basis for marriage. Alys soon finds herself so sunk in evil, so removed from God's love, that only a truly shocking gesture can bring about her salvation. Gregory adeptly manipulates hair-raising horror and mounting suspense, brilliantly evoking the period's turbulent atmosphere. Dou ble day Book Club alternate. (Nov.)

Praise for 'The Wise Woman': 'Compulsively readable.' Andrea Newman, Sunday Express 'Gregory's principal feat in this elaborate novel is the irrefutable artistry with which she lends her prose a constant sense of history!Success results from the tense, almost shocking contrast between serious issues -- religious doctrine, political integrity, social dynamics -- and flights of erotic fancy.' Sunday Times

This new novel by the author of Wideacre (S. & S., 1987) and other popular historical fiction profiles a woman versed in charms, conjuring, and fortune-telling who nonetheless falls into catastrophic misfortunes time after time. Escaping from an English convent, young Alys learns the arts of healing and magic from the ``wise woman'' who takes her in. Her struggle to find an independent life takes her among an array of characters, including a mediocre lover, a sickly old man still very much in control of the lives around him, and two challenging women: Marach and Mother Hildebrande. Gregory weaves a vivid tapestry of life in the 16th century, including plenty of sex, as the narrative strains toward a not-unexpected end.-- M.E. Chitty, Fairchild International Lib . Inst . , Plainfield, N.J.

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