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The Winthrop Woman

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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  3,132 ratings  ·  254 reviews
First published in 1958 and set in the early 17th century, this bestselling novel—and follow-up to Katherine—follows Elizabeth Winthrop, a courageous Puritan woman who finds herself at odds with her heritage and surroundings. A real historical figure, Elizabeth married into the family of Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In those times of hardship, fa ...more
Paperback, 588 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1958)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
302nd out of 4,688 books — 18,522 voters
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The Unknown, Hidden Gems Of Historical Fiction
7th out of 766 books — 650 voters


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Community Reviews

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Misfit
What an incredible story of an amazing woman. Elizabeth Fones, married into the Winthrop family, the leader of that being John Winthrop who took his family to New England to govern the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Elizabeth was a rare woman indeed, going on to being one of the few women of her times to be a large landholder, married three times and finally finding great happiness and love in the last one to Will Hallet.

This book has it all -- passion, madness, bigotry, ignorant superstitions and r
...more
Chrissie
Finally, I have chugged through Winthrop Woman. It is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Little House Collection, but for adults. I did like these books, but then I was a kid! Indians and witches and cute, super sweet romance, romance and more romance. The romance is so clean it whistles. Forget a spark of passion. Yes, the history is there, and it is all accurate, but it is too cute, too predictable, too romantic, and too moralistic. The writing is accurate, but not beautiful and not intriguing. And ma ...more
Carol Storm
A sleazier, sexier, version of THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND.

Elizbeth is sexy. Elizabeth likes luxury, fancy clothes, and handsome men. Elizabeth is not a perfect fit for Puritan New England, but thanks to several lucky marriages and husbands who all seem to conveniently die at the right moment, she ends up a woman of substance . . . respected, admired, and tolerated in spite of her open defiance of sober Puritan customs.

Typical moment . . . the whole colony is fasting, going without food for a
...more
Debbie Zapata
My mother recommended this book to me so I confess I was reluctant from the beginning since our reading tastes seldom match. But I quickly became caught up in Elizabeth's story and the way it was told. As much as the book is about one woman's life, it is also about the beginnings of a country's life. I learned details about the Puritans that were never mentioned in my school history classes so many years ago. They left England in search of religious freedom was pretty much all I remember: turns ...more
Laura
This is the story of Elizabeth Fones with a historical background of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Elizabeth was a nice of John Winthrop and she marries Harry Winthrop, her first cousin.

When the Winthrop family decides to move the New World, they become founding members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston.

The population of this colony was governed by the Puritanism and John Winthrop is elected as the Governor of this colony.



According to Wiki
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Judy
The #8 top bestseller of 1958 was another door stopper but also an excellent piece of historical fiction. It made my list of Best Books Read in 2010. Elizabeth Fones, the woman of the title, was the niece of John Winthrop who became the first governor of Massachusetts in 1630. Elizabeth married her cousin Henry, one of John Winthrop's many sons, although she was really in love with John Jr. All of these characters actually existed and I saw that the plots of romance novels are truly drawn from ...more
Cphe
The story of Elizabeth Winthrop from her early beginnings through to her later life. A well written historical saga and rich in historical detail of the times depicted. I couldn't say that this is the best book I've ever read by Anya Seton but it was still an enjoyable and easy read.
Sara W
This novel about Elizabeth Winthrop, niece of Gov. John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was extremely well-researched. The book follows Elizabeth's life starting with her years in England and through all the drama she went through in the New World. I knew I was in good hands when I read Anya Seton's author's note and she wrote: "My determination to present authentic history has necessitated a scrupulous adherence to the findings of research. And I felt that this woman, with her passion ...more
Mandy Moody
What a wonderful book! So well written and so engaging, I loved it.
I don't know why books like these aren't assigned to High Schoolers. It brought early American history alive in a way that textbooks never did for me. Seton's research is impeccable, and this book was more fact than fiction - but was interesting!
The main character, Elizabeth Fones, is one that I think almost any woman would be able to identify with. Although her thoughts and feelings are ahead of her time, her struggle between wh
...more
Christine Hutcherson
Better than I expected - I thought it would be dry and a slog to read. It features an appealing and likeable main character, an engrossing story, and a fascinating peek into history, but has too many romance novel overtones for my taste. My favorite parts were descriptions of everyday life and activities. A fast read despite its bloated length.
Joyce
It's so nice to see Seton's classic titles published in such excellent audio editions. Seton's well-researched historical novels are an excellent choice for anyone, like me, who knows a bit of history. She immerses readers/listeners in the characters and their stories: here, the rebellious Elizabeth Winthrop, niece of founding father John, governor of Mass. Bay Colony. Forced to join the family in the New World, Elizabeth makes her own way, and after two failed marriages finds happiness. Lots of ...more
Susan Brokenshire-prater
This is historical fiction at its best. Anya Seton's research uncovers a remarkable woman who was one of America's first colonists.
Beth
It is good to immerse oneself in Historical Fiction in order to find out about one's own area. The Winthrop family is pictured with some of them living on an estate and the poorer cousins including the tale's heroine who visits now and then. Visiting in the early 1600's was a rough deal for her patriarch is extremely religiously repressive person. About 200 people relocate to the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Boston area) with John Winthrop (who later becomes the colony Governor) to begin new lives. ...more
Merredith
I can't believe this was published in 1958! I read most of Anya Seton's books in highschool or college, not this one, but all that were at the library, and i didn't even realize they were so old. I loved this book because it's about the puritans and the colonization of New England. I actually had a distant relative on the mayflower, but this one isn't about the pilgrims. most of what we learned about the first settlers started after they came here to america but this one begins in england, and i ...more
Karyl
Elizabeth Winthrop, born in England and reared among the gentry, emigrated to the New World to join her Puritan uncle, the famous John Winthrop, who coordinated much of the migration to New England. But she wasn't your typical Puritan woman; eventually she refused to go to religious services, and felt that the Puritans did not have the final answer when it came to religion. She was always a trial to her uncle due to her unconventional lifestyle, but she found peace in having charge of her own li ...more
Megan
I've had other Anya Seton books recommended to me, but when it came to choosing a book to take on vacation, this one beat out the others because of the subject matter.
The Winthrop Woman is meticulously researched and engagingly told. One often assumes that Puritans are boring (puritanical, even) but I felt that this book provided a lot of historical information in an accessible, interesting way. Halfway through my vacation, before reading the book, I found myself regretting the purchase (Puritan
...more
Caz
Phew! That was a looooong audiobook!

Review to follow at AudioGals.
Mintzis
I like historical fiction, and I thought this would be a good long read. But somewhere seton crossed into the romance realm. The heroine stays sexually attractive till the last page, despite having 7 or so children (I lost count), being married to a madman, and living in precolonial America. With each episode, I would think, "really?" try to calculate her age and gage how many pages were left. I'm not quite sure why I stuck it out -- although the history was engaging. That's probably what earned ...more
Donna MacDonald
This is a historical novel about the life, trials and constant struggles one of my ancestors (my uncle was able to track this down through genealogy). Although she was connected with a very prominent and influential family, life was far from easy. Her name was Elizabeth, a Puritan woman. It's set in the early17th century about ten years before the setting of the Scarlet Letter. I loved this book, not only because she was my eighth-great grandmother, but because she was an incredibly brave, beaut ...more
Melinda
The Winthrop Woman is an epic piece of historical fiction. Elizabeth Winthrop was an absolutely remarkable, courageous (and stubborn!) woman in a world dominated by men. Few writers are so well reasearched as Anya Seton. The characters were so real and I loved the way the book ended with a feeling of hope and resolution. This is one of the best historical works of fiction I've ever read.
Theresa

I found this novel of Elizabeth Winthrop Feake Haskell to be absorbing and educational. I was very surprised to find that my knowledge of American History (that I always prided myself on being 'up on'), was not as deep as I originally thought!

Several authors of historical fiction like to take the position that women fought against the mores and strictures of their times. Seton is one of them, in sculpting Bess Winthrop's character. At times I have to confess I found the over-emphasis on Bess's i
...more
Leslie Knox
This is my very favorite book by Anya Seton. I read it years ago and bought another copy last year to re-read again. This is one of those books along with Katherine that you can read year after year and still love it. The main character is strong and engaging. Her life crosses that of figures in history.
Deb
Can't imagine how I missed this as kid. Interesting quotes from primary sources, much harder on John Winthrop than most later scholars (e.g. Morgan.)

Also, did not know that she was the daughter of Ernest Seton Thompson - all devotees of Scouting will recognize him as the great purveyor of Indian lore.
Lady of the Lake
AMAZING work by Anya Seton! I'm usually not an American History fan but Seton does her craft so well what is not to love?! You feel the strength of the characters in her writing! You are there with them. I don't know why I put this off for so long! But now I had a treat with it so I am glad!
Alice
The history is fascinating. Living in Massachusetts I learned a lot about our early history. Plot and characters very well done. My of my all time favorite Historical Fiction Books. I highly recommend to any who like to read historical fiction about early America.
Amie
I enjoyed this book. I was afraid that I might not get the ending that I wanted. Some authors write and seem to come up with similar endings, but I néver know what I am going to get. I guess that is why I love historical fiction.
Barbara
I recently purchased this book to reread. It was wonderful the first time around.
Billie
Good historical novel but a bit of chick-lit. However, it kept my interest.
Jo-Lynne Lockley
The Winthrop Woman after Wolf Hall is equivalent to Two Buck Chuck after St Emilion. No body, no flavor, no character. Just a container for social cliches, a littel romancy sexiness and history which could be found on Wikipedia in a few minutes.
Character development is cute, monodimensional and trite. Events may be accurate, but the pseudo Elizabethan dialogue is irritating, as are the relations of the practices of the time. Back to the library it goes with regrets for wasted time which could ha
...more
Laura
Anya Seton's historical fiction seems to age very well. I read Green Darkness many years ago and it remains one of my all time favorites, in my favorite genre. I listened to Katherine several years back and became impressed with Ms. Seton's talent once again.

The Winthrop woman tells the story of Elizabeth Winthrop, the daughter-in-law/niece of John Winthrop, a strict Puritan and a founding governor of the Massachusetts Colony in the first half of the 17th Century. While Elizabeth actually existe
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Anya Seton (January 23, 1904 (although the year is often misstated to be 1906 or 1916) - November 8, 1990) was the pen name of the American author of historical romances, Ann Seton.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton.
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