Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Angel Makers” as Want to Read:
The Angel Makers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Angel Makers

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  1,287 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
Is witchcraft or revenge to blame when men from a remote Hungarian village start dropping dead?

Teenage Sari's smart, inquisitive nature would be enough to make her an outcast in her remote Hungarian village; add to that her knowledge of healing herbs, and she's widely considered a witch.

When the men leave to fight World War I, however, everything changes. Without their opp
Paperback, 340 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Soho Press (first published February 6th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Angel Makers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Angel Makers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,825)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Tara Chevrestt
They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.. and having read this which is based on a true story, I'd say they may be right.

It's a novel about the abuse of power and how what can be a good thing in one's hands can become something else, something evil in another's.

Sari is a teenager branded as a slight "witch" because she has the power to use herbs and such to help with wounds, illness, and pregnancies. She feels ostracized by her little town and so when the wealthiest boy agrees t
R.S. Carter
I wanted to read this novel because it was based on a true story. A group of women conspired together in a small village in Hungary and over a period of a decade or so, murdered hundreds of people. Mostly men. The main conspirators sign the death certificates and furnished the arsenic to make the deaths look like a horrible illness. These women did so because of regular abuse. But death came so easy. It soon spread to include burdensome parents, nasty in-laws and maybe even some troublesome chil ...more
Jamie Hughes
According to the information I read before I selected this book, it is based partially on fact. Apparently, there actually was a village in Hungary where a midwife not only provided arsenic to kill abusive husbands but also sons, mothers-in-law, and anyone else who got in the way of a woman's will. The "true story" ( of_Nagyr%C3%A9v) is much more straightforward than the novel, which has a cast of colorful characters and a very sympathetic protagonist.

Aug 27, 2012 NyiNya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When WWI called the men away from their Hungarian village of Nagyar, their wives wept and wished them a speedy return.

Until they noticed something unusual.

With the men gone, life was a whole lot better. One by one, each wife experienced the same epiphany: Nobody was spending the family's scant savings on booze, getting drunk and beating the daylights out of her. And what's more, the ladies realized that men weren't all that necessary. They were managing the farms pretty darn well themselves. Sur
Viviane Cordeiro
Quando a WWI explodiu, em 1914, o mundo se encontrava em um misto de perplexidade e emoção perante o ativismo feminino: o movimento sufragista ganhava força, muitas mulheres começavam a se posicionar nas lutas de classe e gênero, mas nada disso parecia importar em uma pequena aldeia na Hungria. É assim que somos apresentados a Sari, protagonista da brilhante obra de Jessica Gregson, que vive em uma aldeia húngara com seu pai, um Wise Man que domina a arte das poções herbais. Após seu falecimento ...more
Tory Wagner
Jun 02, 2016 Tory Wagner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The story takes place in a remote Hungarian village during World War I. Sari's father, the village doctor, dies and she moves in with the local midwife who is perhaps also a witch. As the men head off to war, the women become used to living a life of more freedom and begin to enjoy it. Sari's friend/fiancé must also leave and at first Sari misses him, but soon his house, the most wealthy of the village, is turned into an internment camp for captured Italian prisoners. The ladies of the village s ...more
Oct 01, 2015 Keely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life changes dramatically in a small Hungarian village during Word War I, while most of the village men are away fighting. The women are freer, less controlled (and less beaten), and teenaged Sari, always a bit of an outcast, experiences her first real friendships. But when the war ends, and the men start trickling back home, all of that changes. Sari can't bear life with her abusive, shell-shocked fiance and, in desperation, slowly poisons him to death. Other village women start following suit, ...more
Ricki Treleaven
Mar 09, 2013 Ricki Treleaven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This week I read The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson. The novel is based on a true story, and it is one of the most chilling historical stories I have ever read (not involving an oppressive government). If you are interested, google The Angelmakers of Nagyrev for more information.

The story begins in 1914, shortly before the beginning of World War I, in the tiny, remote Hungarian village of Faluscka. Fourteen year old Sari Arany's father, Jan, is a taltos, or wise man. He is very well-respecteed
Jan 02, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of my favorite books are novels that are based upon true events or actual people, so I am always drawn to book blurbs that say they are based upon a true story. The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson is a page turning, thoroughly engrossing read that is inspired by actual events. Set in Hungary just before the First World War, The Angel Makers tells the story of Sari, a young orphaned girl that is often ostracized by the other villagers. Unusual to begin with Sari lives with the old crone midw ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Danny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Sari didn't set out to be a murderer. But it turned out to be the only way. No, not the only way. There is always a choice, she would tell you. She chose to be a murderer. That just wasn't the plan at the beginning.


When the men of a Hungarian village leave to fight in World War I, their wives and girlfriends are left behind to cope with the absence. The days don't seem to be that much different until a group of Italian POWs are housed near the village. Now the women to go the makeshift
Both shocking and encouraging of sympathy, The Angel Makers is a haunting novel that will slyly seduce you.

Taking place in an isolated village in Hungary, the story revolves around Sari Arany, first as a young girl, then as a woman, and her place in village life. Her father is the village medicine man and seer; her only friend is the feared village midwife and herbal woman. Before her father dies, he arranges (with her permission) for Sari's engagement to Ferenc, the son of the wealthiest family
Cinda MacKinnon
Jul 07, 2013 Cinda MacKinnon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Angel Makers is based on an almost unbelievable true story, set in a small Hungarian village during WWI.
After the men leave to fight the women realize many of them are happier without their oppressive husbands. They form bonds with each other and with some Italian prisoners of war. Sari is the strong main character, a mere teenager with a knowledge of herbs and healing that make some suspect her of witchcraft, but the village midwife takes her in. The story tells how Sari first poisons her
Gerri Leen
Jan 07, 2012 Gerri Leen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has the potential to be so very good that it pains me to trash it. But trash it I must. And the reason would probably floor anyone who knows me. You see, I swear like a trooper and I'm going to abandon this book for Too Much F***ing Swearing. Yes, that's right. And not because I'm offended. Although I kind of actually am which is a hardish thing to do. But more because it's completely jarring. This is set in WWI (that's right World War ONE) Hungary. I do not expect to hear language lik ...more
May 21, 2016 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sari has always been an outsider in her small Hungarian village. Before World War I breaks out, she is the object of superstitious whispers and gossip. By the end of the story, however, she will be a sort of rogue heroine. Jessica Gregson’s The Angel Makers is a twisty tale of murder and mayhem. The end of this book still has me wondering about the ethical rights and wrongs of what happened in that little village...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.
Rebecca Skane

I thought this book would more accurately portray the events that happened in this town. Instead, the author highly embellished the story. Which is fine. But I wasn't thrilled with its direction, or misdirection. Full review: The Angel Makers Book Review
true story about a woman who teaches women how to poison their awful husbands after war in Romania/Hungary when these horrible abusive men come back. The Italian prisioners who were kept in their area were respectful of them, and they learned to value themselves and did not want to go back to the old way. so they didn't.
4.5 stars!

I really liked this book! The characters were very realistic and I enjoyed Gregson's writing a lot. I still find it very interesting what people will do when pushed. I definitely recommend this one!
MaryannC.Book Fiend
This book hooked you right away and the story flowed easily. But, sometimes the crude words referring to women turned me off. I'm not a prude, I just could have did without it.
Nov 26, 2014 Ada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adore esta novela, tiene un poco de todo, el suspenso, la narrativa, la descriptiva, ¡Me encanto! El contexto histórico es llevado adecuadamente, el desarrollo de la trama es perfecto sin exagerar, el final es… un final que no esperaba así que me encantó. La protagonista tiene una fuerza que se ve menguada y restablecida que sabe sobrellevar cada situación y la historia romántica de trasfondo es casi idílica… Llore por culpa de un personaje y disfrute el destino que corrió… Recomendada para quie ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I once saw an intriguing documentary on the women in a small Hungarian village, who poisoned their abusive husbands and relatives. This book is loosely based on this true story, but it takes most of the book to set the scene, and the crimes themselves are only in the last third. I suspect that most people who read this are as impatient as myself to get to the heart of this tale. No, snarky friend sitting next to me, I do not think I could have written this better. But I do think the author could ...more
Judy King
Apr 13, 2014 Judy King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've waited well over a year to read The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson which was based on the true story of a group of women in Nagyrev, Hungary during and just after WWI. It's been lingering on my wish list; the read was well worth the wait and my enthusiasm didn't dim due to the delay.

When the men of the remote Hungarian farming village go off to war in 1916, the women left behind realize their lives are much better. Most of these women were teenage brides in arranged marriages. Suddenly th
Sep 01, 2016 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2012 RNOCEAN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the men of a remote Hungarian village go off to war in 1916, the women left behind realize their lives are much better without them. Suddenly, they are not being beaten; they have time for friendships; they even find romance with the injured Italian soldiers staying just outside of town.

For Sari, an intelligent girl who's always been an outcast (her fellow villagers suspect her of being a witch because of her medical knowledge), it's the first time in her life she's had friends. When the m
Mar 01, 2012 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mendy, Sharon and Kelly
Shelves: ebooks
I could not put this one down. The novel centers around a small village in Hungary in pre-World War 1 and the bonds formed by the wives who are left behind when the husbands are called off to War. On the surface it reminded me of how military wives bond and help one another during deployments but it stopped there, lol. However, nothing can compare to the hardships and abuses these women endured during this time period when myths and superstitions were rampant and how women were treated in that t ...more
Mar 04, 2012 JoLene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf, kindle, read-2012
3.5 stars
This is a story set in a small isolated town in Hungary and about the impact of WWI on the town's women. This is based on a true story. There is a lot to like about this book. The sense of place is very strong. This village is very isolated and the residents are quite poor. Life is not easy for the villagers, but once the men go off to war, the women find that life is considerably better. It gets better still when one of the farms is taken over and used as a prisoner of war camp. Many o
Dec 13, 2011 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Review originally posted on my blog :

Sari is a young apprentice to the local midwife in an isolated Hungarian village when the men, including her fiance, are called away to fight in World War I. For most of the women, who have arranged marriages, having their husbands away is a relief. Before long many of the women, including Sari, begin relationships with the Italian prisoners that are kept at a nearby POW camp. But the war ends and the consequences must
Aug 08, 2011 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really engrossing narrative, I couldn't put this book down. This is essentially the story of the women of an isolated Hungarian village around the time of the First World War, and the effect that the war, and the arrival of an Italian POW camp, has on their way of life. The story centres on Sari, an outcast from the village because of her reputation as a witch, until the outbreak of war when her medical skills become needed and respected. However, following the end of the war, her medical skil ...more
I enjoyed this book, mostly because it attempts to understand (play out a possible scenario) of a true story of a village where a large number of women killed male family members following the men's return after the end of WWI. The women learn, while the men are away fighting the war, what it's like to have more independence than normal, and then the women struggle with the "damaged" men who return to them following the war. It is interesting to note, as well, that the women don't see the Italia ...more
Jenn Ravey
Mar 23, 2013 Jenn Ravey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

*I received this book from the publisher Soho Press in exchange for an honest review.

When her father dies, Sari Arany stays motionless, “soaking in the impossibility that she could still be living while her father was dead” and stays there until she feels his presence gone. As she says, “It was all right for her to leave him then.” An outcast in her rural Hungarian village, Sari is the daughter of a táltos, a Wise Man, and with her odd personality and direct stare, is feare
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 94 95 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Grammarian
  • No One Thinks of Greenland: A Novel
  • Rachel's Secret (The Rachel Trilogy #1)
  • Elza's Kitchen
  • Berserk
  • Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball
  • The Golden Hour
  • The Dukays
  • The Dime Museum Murders
  • Promise the Night
  • Split by a Kiss
  • The Shut Mouth Society
  • The Seven (Volume 1)
  • The Luminist
  • Frangipani
  • Extraordinary Renditions
  • Chojun
  • The Pericles Commission (The Athenian Mysteries, #1)

Share This Book