Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lady of the Reeds (Lady of the Reeds, #1)” as Want to Read:
Lady of the Reeds (Lady of the Reeds, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lady of the Reeds (Lady of the Reeds #1)

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  795 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
She grew up on the reed-lined banks of the Upper Nile but she was not like the other villagers of Aswat. Intelligent and ambitious, Thu is convinced that her destiny is greater than to marry a peasant, tend crops and breed sons. She wants more. When Hui, aristocrat, healer and famed seer, anchors his barge at the nearby temple, young Thu swims to it, willing to offer him a ...more
Paperback, 520 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Press (first published January 1st 1994)
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 Lady of the Reeds, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lady of the Reeds

The Egyptian by Mika WaltariFlow Down Like Silver by Ki LongfellowRiver God by Wilbur SmithNefertiti by Michelle MoranThe Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
Best Egyptian Historical Fiction
11th out of 139 books — 353 voters
Nefertiti by Michelle MoranFlow Down Like Silver by Ki LongfellowRiver God by Wilbur SmithThe Heretic Queen by Michelle MoranCleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Best Books About Egypt
24th out of 358 books — 440 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,098)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Althea Ann
Aug 23, 2012 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing
Long eons ago, in the days when the Internet was just something called Usenet... before amazon. before paperbackswap. before goodreads... back in Those Days, I made a special trip, while in Canada, to the bookstore. I'm pretty sure it was the World's Biggest Bookstore (yes, that's its name). And I bought every single one of Pauline Gedge's books, and brought them all home with me. Very heavy.
I never really did understand why Gedge is so popular in her home, Canada, and completely unpublicized in
Kimi Augusto
Oct 21, 2010 Kimi Augusto rated it really liked it
Short Summary:

Peasant girl with ambitious streak's journey to become Pharaoh's top concubine and her lack of moral scruples that become her downfall.

My thoughts:

I could be biased because I just LOVE Ancient Egyptian books, but I quite enjoyed it. Yes the main character was hard to like at times becuase she doesn have the moral depth of a spoiled brat. However she is intelligent and witty albeit conniving. And really, how many books can you read with your character being the pinnacle of virtue wi
Jul 11, 2016 Rhonda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
A fantastic book by a very gifted author. Excellent!
Of all Gedge’s novels, this is possibly the series where she changes the most, historically. This book, and the sequel, are based on the harem plot to murder Ramesses III (detailed in the Turin papyrus). Don't open the spoiler link if you don't want to known what happened historically versus what happens in the book. (view spoiler) ...more
Oh, I loved this!

I wasn't really expecting to enjoy it this much, since I don't have a strong interest in Rameses III and had heard reports that the narrator-protagonist, Lady Thu, was unlikable and unpleasant. I didn't have an issue with Thu herself, because while she did unlikable things and was presumptuous, she remained likeable.

I must have a thing for Gedge's pharaohs, because the Rameses III makes three out of three of her pharaohs I've fallen in love with, though this Rameses is more hum
Feb 10, 2013 Londa rated it liked it
This book did capture my attention. The story kept me up at night reading for hours until I finished. The description of life and customs in ancient Egypt were very effective. I felt like I was right there with the characters.

I did not care for Thu at all. I don't HAVE to like the main character of a book to enjoy it but it made it difficult for me to want to see her succeed in anything. In fact, I was rooting against her a lot of times.

All of the characters were pretty well developed, but I d
Jun 04, 2014 Adrianna rated it liked it
Still not quite sure how I felt about this novel. I was really enjoying it until about the end, but I don't want to give any spoilers.

Thu is quite ambitious and ruthless for a peasant Egyptian girl and essentially works her way up to becoming the Pharoah's concubine. She is intelligent and beautiful and eager to carve out a niche of power for herself, however, many other players are eager to do the same.

The historical representation was fairly good, I think. Thu is completely fictional, as far
Gedge does a wonderful job of painting time and place. Her historical fiction placed in ancient Egypt is some of the best. This book is told from the viewpoint of a would be murderess, who Gedge draws with wonderful shading.
Helen C
Sep 07, 2015 Helen C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Lady of the Reeds is the personal diary of Thu of Aswat, and it is a fascinating document. Written in the first person, each page chronicles her life from poor peasant girl in the rural Nile farming village of Aswat, to favored concubine in the Royal Harem of Ramses III at Pi-Ramesse. Omitting nothing, this blue-eyed daughter of an Egyptian midwife and Libu mercenary takes us on a journey that travels a path from childish innocence to vile debauchery. We are with her every step of the way.
The l
A book about an incredibly shallow Egyptian peasant girl who becomes Pharaoh's concubine and always thinks that she's two steps ahead of all the people using her, but really, she's 5 steps behind. You know it, the author knows it, everyone in the book knows it, and yet, you find yourself getting sucked in and reading on, cringing and wincing your way through the story, and hoping that it doesn't end the way you suspect that it must. If you hate second-hand embarrassment, then this book is not fo ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Anya added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Read way back when I was in high school (I guess I was going through my ancient Egypt phase then) and this was my first 500 pages book that I read in English. I may not read it again but this book is staying on my bookshelf.
Jun 30, 2011 Irena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This was very good book that I felt needed more to make it complete. It is a lazy story, one to be while relaxing, not fast paced in any way, but definitely active enough to hold one's attention.
Te story is centered and told from a common girl's POV. Her dreams, desires, irritations, opinions. She needs to be a little better developed or maybe she is just that shallow of a person, but you can definitely get a sense for her life.
Excellent pull in. I found myself thinking about the characters and
Aug 09, 2013 Kina rated it really liked it
I really very much enjoyed this book. Of all the historical fiction based in ancient Egypt, this is one of only a handful that I thoroughly enjoyed. The characters seemed fully developed, and the conversations seemed plausible. The actions and words of the main character, Thu, were believable, but I had a hard time remembering her age - I tended to imagine her as a woman in her early 20s. (I've had no children of my own, and lord knows I gave my mother enough "back talk" in my early teens - so p ...more
Lana Shupe
Mar 06, 2014 Lana Shupe marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
The Book Voucher
Mar 20, 2016 The Book Voucher rated it it was amazing
Based on a known and historically attested harem plot to poison Ramses III, House of Dreams aka Lady of the Reeds is a perfect blend between historical fact and fiction, with deep and subtle, well-developed characters, detailed and compelling descriptions, and suprising plot-twists.

Full review posted on The Book Voucher
Dec 21, 2015 Lc rated it really liked it
good book but the ending was kindof disappointing. it was also really sad that all the things that happened occurred before she was 17
Mar 09, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the story of Thu and her rise. The ending - not so much...
Lorina Stephens
Mar 21, 2009 Lorina Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the third reading for me of House of Dreams, by Canadian author, Pauline Gedge. The novel still stands up.

Set in ancient Egypt, House of Dreams takes you through political machinations and the vain dreams of an ambitious and fiesty girl known as Thu. Gedge's ability to raise an ancient world, complete with the arid atmosphere pinching your nose and the feel fine linen on your burning skin is utterly spell-binding. A power-house writer, and a fabulous read.
Jan 30, 2014 Eva rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved it ! From the first to the last page. Can't wait to read House of Illusions..
Apr 02, 2009 Awallens rated it it was amazing
Thu is a peasant girl who wants more for herself. She is selfish, and ambitious. She is brought to the Pharoah as a concubine after being trained as a physician. How far will Thu's ambition take her? How far will she fall?
this book was amazing. I didn't like Thu a lot of the time, but I also felt sympathetic for her. This is a must-read if you are a fan of Egypt, or a historical fiction buff. Since I am a fan of both this was a great read.
Dec 06, 2013 Lariany rated it it was amazing
I love how accurately Egypt is painted and how we're walked through all classes of life from peasant, middle class, to the palace. I take this story to heart. Any one could have made her mistakes. Im glad i know better not to though. It is a great story that sucks you in right away. Lady Thu is likable and she is a good person at heart. She was used and was overly ambitious but she was not evil. She was just like any other woman wanting to better herself.
South Regional Durham County Libraries
Another book from my historical fiction phase, this book is set in Ancient Egypt and basically focuses on the life of Thu. Her life begins as a peasant girl, from there she becomes mediacal assistant, the Pharaoh's concubine, and finally a murderess. The book is sort of sad because you are really rooting Thu and yet she makes such bad choices. The end of the book though was really touching and made up for the sad parts in the middle.
Lauren Doll
Dec 22, 2010 Lauren Doll rated it it was amazing
Another book from my historical fiction phase, this book is set in Ancient Egypt and basically focuses on the life of Thu. Her life begins as a peasant girl, from there she becomes mediacal assistant, the Pharaoh's concubine, and finally a murderess. The book is sort of sad because you are really rooting Thu and yet she makes such bad choices. The end of the book though was really touching and made up for the sad parts in the middle.
Apr 29, 2015 Fanny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
J'aime énormément ce livre. Le fait que Thu soit imparfaite la rend humaine et le fait qu'elle soit si égoïste et manipulatrice la rend intéressante. Si l'histoire était contée du point de vue de quelqu'un d'autre, personne ne pourrait aimer la jeune fille, mais en lisant ses sentiments, on la comprend même quand on ne l'approuve pas.
Je ne me lasse pas de lire ce livre et ce n'est sûrement pas la dernière fois que je le fais.
Sep 14, 2011 Starlight_miss rated it it was amazing
This book is very intriguing! It follows the life of a young woman in Egypt, who aspires to leave her small village and become greater than what she is expected to be, even though her mother and father expect her to take on the job of a midwife. She leaves her home, and goes on an adventure, until finally she becomes a concubine to Ramses III. But even that isn't enough for this strong-willed woman.
Sep 24, 2013 Elle rated it really liked it
Not the best book I've ever read, and certainly riddled with a few inaccuracies and anachronisms, but it's a fun read and definitely worth the time to read. The characters are interesting, the story fast-paced, and the politics quite easy to sympathize with, to a degree. For a short and entertaining read about Egypt, romance, intrigue, and a little bit of sex, come here first.
Joyce McCombs
Apr 07, 2008 Joyce McCombs rated it it was amazing
I just emerged from this book over the weekend... a real page turner and a slice of Egyptian life that was so fascinating...the detail is tremendous.. you can literally feel the sand in your toes and that hot HOT sun....mystery, intrigue, even murder! It made me want to go jump in the Nile and then lay around a pool and be fanned and served pomegranate juice... ahh....
Katie Tillwick
Oct 31, 2014 Katie Tillwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous ancient Egyptian setting, based on a true attempted assassination on Ramses III. Thu, the main character, is a creation of the author. Thu, the protagonist, (she's no hero), can be gratingly selfish and dumb, making this book at times difficult to continue on with.

A great Ancient Egypt historical, nonetheless.
Rebecca Huston
Aug 19, 2010 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite novels set in ancient Egypt. This time the setting is the court of Ramses III, and a young peasant girl who gets mixed up in intrigue. You may not like what Thu does, but you can't help but be interested in her.

For the complete review, please go here:
Dec 01, 2012 Jerri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although the author creates a beautiful world in this novel, the main character's so shallow and one dimensional that finishing this book was something of a chore. There were also some gaping plot holes, and the story ends exactly where it begins...kind of leaves you thinking, "What was the point?"...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 69 70 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • King and Goddess
  • A God Against the Gods
  • The Crook and Flail (The She-King, #2)
  • The Beacon at Alexandria
  • Sovereign of Stars (The She-King, #3)
  • For the Love of Philae
  • Kleopatra (Kleopatra, #1)
  • The Right Hand of Amon (Lieutenant Bak, #1)
  • Naguib Mahfouz: Three Novels of Ancient Egypt
  • When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra
  • Selene of Alexandria
  • A Killing Among the Dead
  • The Light Bearer
  • Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh
  • The Mask of Ra (Amerotke, #1)
  • Cleopatra's Secret: Keepers of the Light
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on December 11, 1945, the first of three girls. Six years later my family emigrated to England where my father, an ex-policeman, wanted to study for the Anglican ministry. We lived in an ancient and very dilapidated cottage in the heart of the English Buckinghamshire woodland, and later in a small village in Oxfordshire called Great Haseley. I grew up surrounde ...more
More about Pauline Gedge...

Other Books in the Series

Lady of the Reeds (2 books)
  • House of Illusions  (Lady of the Reeds, #2)

Share This Book