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The Cunning Woman's Cup

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4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  30 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
When Alice McCleish's gardener Brian unearths an object of great archaeological significance deep under the compost heap it is not only Alice and her burgeoning friendship with Margaret Allerton, retired Professor of Anthropology, that are affected: the family, friends and neighbours of Alice, who people the narrative, are also touched by subsequent events. Alice and ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 7th 2014 by Createspace
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ken
Jan 22, 2015 Ken rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books
4.5 stars

I’m not part of the target demographic for this book, due to my Y chromosome, but I enjoyed it immensely. Hewitt does a great job detailing the setting—the small, rural town of Duddo near the Scottish border in Northumberland. You can feel the chill of a foggy morning in your bones and the mud squelching under your boots after a long rain. The bonds of friendship between two women, as well as the site of their chance meeting, near an ancient stone circle, form the primary threads for th
...more
E.V. Greig
Mar 21, 2015 E.V. Greig rated it really liked it
The Cunning Woman’s Cup is a fascinating blending of worlds and genres. Author Sue Hewitt delves into the raw heart of pre-Romanic Britain and maps out a journey across history and culture. With equal measures of faith, love, and academia, this is a novel to spend time on. The narrative unfolds steadily; revealing a host of carefully envisioned characters, each with their own aspirations.

The imagery of the mythical wandering woman trading knowledge for hospitality is repeated in the choices and
...more
E.L. Lindley
Jun 09, 2015 E.L. Lindley rated it it was amazing
The Cunning Woman’s Cup is such a rich and layered read, I hardly know where to start. In any other hands, the complex structure and stories within stories might have lacked cohesion but Sue Hewitt asserts herself from the onset as a writer who is in complete control of her craft. I was in her thrall from the very first page.

The story, on the surface, is a simple one – the tale of two elderly women, Alice and Margaret, who meet by chance and forge an enduring friendship. The story ripples out f
...more
Cathy Ryan
Sep 02, 2015 Cathy Ryan rated it it was amazing
The book opens with a haunting flashback to a period in pre Romanic Britain where we meet Mordwand of the Brigantes (the cunning woman), who survived being aborted and was raised by a wolfhound. After the hound died Mordwand became ‘the eyes and ears’ of the healer who aborted her, and learned what she could from the old woman until old age took her as well, and Mordwand found herself alone once more. Short, intriguing and sometimes distressing passages from her life begin each chapter and I ...more
Iona Carroll
Aug 17, 2014 Iona Carroll rated it it was amazing
If any reader has visited the ancient standing stones of Duddo in Northumberland, they will quickly identify with this interesting debut novel by Sue Hewitt. There is a believable mix of characters, an unfolding mystery and local rural interest. All these elements provide intrigue from the first page. Sue Hewitt’s clever approach to her novel preludes each chapter with excellent descriptive prose reaching back in time to the stones –
I was Mordwand of the Brigantes. Called Dead and cast out when
...more
Rosie Amber
Jun 20, 2015 Rosie Amber rated it it was amazing
The Cunning Woman's Cup is a contemporary piece of fiction woven around ancient standing stones and family dramas. It is set in Duddo, Northumberland near the Scottish border.

There is an ancient stone circle at Duddo made of 5 megaliths. We are introduced to Mordwand of the Brigantes a healing woman burned at the stake. Her story threads throughout the book in a series of small flashbacks.

Alice McCleish lives with Nipper, her dog, close to the standing stones. The small community is close and su
...more
Whispering Stories
Sep 09, 2016 Whispering Stories rated it really liked it
Alice McCleish has lived in the Northumberland countryside all of her live. She lives in Duddo, a small remote village with her house overlooking an ancient stone circle. Now alone, after the death of her beloved husband Callum, Alice only has her dog Nipper, the Border Terrier, for company.

It is whilst out walking Nipper that Alice crosses paths with retired professor Margaret Allerton. Margaret is trying to locate the nearest village for a cup of tea, but with the nearest place being miles awa
...more
Babus Ahmed
Dec 14, 2015 Babus Ahmed rated it really liked it
This contemporary fiction delves into history to tell us about an ancient cunning woman and her plight at the times of the Romans. Her story is progressed at the start of each chapter telling us about Alice and her family. Alice has lived in rural Northumberland all her life and the object linking the past and present in this novel is a cup that is unearthed in her garden by her gardener, Brian. The countryside plays a prominent and positive role throughout this mystery and family drama.

I found
...more
Elizabeth Lloyd
Nov 14, 2015 Elizabeth Lloyd rated it it was amazing
In The Cunning Woman's Cup, echoes from long ago reverberate in the lives of a small community in Northumberland. The tragic life of Mordwand of the Brigantes is briefly told in episodes at the beginning of each chapter. Events from her life impinge into the modern day lives of the other characters in the narrative and help to clarify the spiritual dimension which they experience.

Alice McCleish is a widow, sharing her cottage with her dog Nipper near to the farm of Wyllie and Violet Turnbull, wh
...more
Rhoda D'Ettore
Apr 21, 2015 Rhoda D'Ettore rated it liked it
Rhoda D'Ettore Reviews: I was given this book in exchange for a fair and honest review


This is an interesting tale of a valuable discovery in a woman's garden, the interactions of neighbors, and a tale of the past that eventually becomes woven into the present.

The characters are fleshed out well, with lines such as "Hand me my teeth". In one scene, a strange woman walks by a rural area and the characters ponder if she's a salesperson or a Jehovah's Witness. Some of the dialogue in this scene made
...more
Matthew Harffy
Aug 21, 2016 Matthew Harffy rated it it was amazing
I bought 'The Cunning Woman's Cup' some time ago when I realised it was set on the border of Scotland, in the tiny village of Duddo in Northumberland. The standing stones on the cover are ancient and are mentioned briefly in my own writing about the area, and I used to live near there too, so I was intrigued by the setting.

At first I thought the novel would be historical fiction about a cunning woman (or witch) from long ago, and there are elements of this in the book. But the main story is set
...more
Joyce Barrass
Wonderfully written, tenderly observed. Absolutely loved this story from the first page to the last! Every character is deftly and subtly drawn and the descriptions of the stunning Northumbrian landscape, flora, wildlife, history and atmosphere haunt the imagination. Liminal spaces and "thin places" are brought to life with an exquisitely sensitive touch. Equally engaging is the author's ear for the mundane comical cut and thrust of everyday dialogue: "please stop fussing and pass me my teeth,’ ...more
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