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I have read a number of Gregory’s other works and enjoyed them a great deal. I’m a Tudor-period English history buff and greatly enjoy historical fiction. (Kathy Lynn Emerson’s herbalist books, Alison Weir’s historical novels, Margaret Frazer’s medieval mysteries, etc.) I did not enjoy this book. In fact, I got about half way through it and decided I didn’t care enough to continue. Judging by the reviews on Amazon, this is a book you’re going to either love or really hate. Don’t judge Gregory’s books based on this alone. She can write a more compelling novel.
posted Jul 12, 2008 at 8:39PM
After Catholocism becomes outlawed under England’s Henry VIII, a convent in northern England is looted and burned. Alys, a young nun, manages to escape undetected and flees to the decrepit home of Morach, the local wise woman who had once taken her in as an abandoned infant. Alys reluctantly resumes her training with Morach, and as their reputation for healing grows, Alys is summoned to heal the aging local lord, who decides to keep her on as his clerk upon discovering her education. Thus begins Alyns’ ill-fated entanglement with the local ruling family.
Gregory’s weakness in her earlier novels is clearly the unlikability of her heroines. While I felt some sympathy for Alys early on, by the book’s midpoint I began to feel she deserved her misfortunes.
posted Oct 8, 2008 at 11:47AM
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Joined a nunnery to escape the poverty of her life with her foster mother; had to return to her home when the abbey was accidentally set on fire; learned the art of healing and magic from her foster mother; moved to the castle to heal an old lord; falls obsessively in love with the lord's married son.