Thursday, October 15, 2009

Philippa Gregory : The Wise Woman

I've read several of Gregory's books, but this is the first that I've come across that's been more like actual fantasy than simply historical fiction.

The Wise Woman centers on a girl named Alys, a supposed orphan raised by a Wise Woman. Alys enters a convent, becoming Sister Ann. Unfortunately, it's not to last, and the convent is burned by the son of the Lord over the land they're on, sacked for the King (Henry VIII), and the nuns murdered. Alys, of course, escapes because if she didn't, there'd be no story.

The back of the book paints the story as a love triangle gone wrong by the use of magic, but that's not the heart of the story. Alys is a woman trying to rise beyond her life's station (cue gratuitous comparisons to Anne Boleyn, also a woman rising above her station, also accused of witchcraft).

Alys uses magic to ensnare the man she wants, after she decides to give up her life of piety and her chances of returning to a nunnery.

It's all very dramatic and it's definitely one of the better reads I've gotten from Gregory in a while (I've been struggling with reading The Other Queen for nearly a year now, and I just can't get into it). I'd recommend it if you want to read a good story along with your batshit crazy. Because it's definitely crazy and bizarre.

I liked it.

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