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The Winthrop Woman

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  4,912 ratings  ·  374 reviews
In 1631 Elizabeth Winthrop, newly widowed with an infant daughter, set sail for the New World. In those days of hardship, famine, and Indian attack, there was only one way, in the minds of the governors of the Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut colonies, to hold together the sanity and identity of the colonists. That was through a strong and bigoted, theocratic government.

Kindle Edition, 611 pages
Published April 21st 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1958)
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Janice Robinson I used to have it, having bought it in a used bookstore, but no longer do. I've moved a few times and I don't know what happened to it. I loved the…moreI used to have it, having bought it in a used bookstore, but no longer do. I've moved a few times and I don't know what happened to it. I loved the depiction of Elizabeth on the cover. It really highlighted her hazel eyes.(less)
Nancy There was no reference to such a W on Elizabeth's underwear. Could your boss be thinking of the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne?
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Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I have given 3.5 . Just can't quite push my rating up to 4.

While I loved Katherine which is supposed to be Seton's best work, I am starting to think that in most of her books, Seton lacks the ability to make me care about her characters. & Seton shares the heavy foreboding style of Jean Plaidy where you start to wonder if all these real life characters had the gift of second sight!

The most interesting parts of the story were Elizabeth's early life in England and right at the end with
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
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. Maybe ...more
It is a masterpiece of genre (a historical fiction). Anya Seton was a master. I am speechless. I couldn't sleep last night I just had to read it to the end. Even now, by noon, I am enchanted.
On the cover of my copy is written:

"Perhaps the greatest gifts Anya Seton brings to her historical novels are the zest of her narrative, the life she breathes into the most insignificant characters, and the atmosphere of the era she evokes around them."

I couldn't agree more.

Seton was a great story teller and
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit, Wanda
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
Carol Storm
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Debbie Zapata
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturdaymx
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
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
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
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I enjoyed this so much more than Katherine which I did not especially care for. For many readers, my enjoyment may be exactly opposite of theirs. Elizabeth was a much more accessible character to me. I could empathize with her. Strong-willed in a time when women were only expected to be obedient, she was often in opposition to the men in power. All of the characters in this were real people.

It is also set in a time period with which I am somewhat familiar. It isn't just the history I was taught
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I did the audio and the narrator did an amazing job. The different accents were nicely done. The audio was long....27 hours, but not once did I do the page math. This rolled along at an even pace. I was pulled in from the beginning.

This book covers the life of a woman, Elizabeth (Bess) Winthrop. She was a Puritan and left England with her family to strike out a new beginning in the Colonies of America in the 1600's. The historical fiction was nicely done. The research was
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Bree (AnotherLookBook)
Years ago I read Seton's Dragonwyck and although I don't remember details of that story, I do remember how much I loved it. I've been meaning to read another Seton novel for years, and on a whim I decided on The Winthrop Woman.

Heavily historical, The Winthrop Woman is inspired by the lives of the early settlers in Greeenwich, CT, where the author herself lived. I'm sure that Seton took some historical liberties, as all writers of historical fiction do, but overwhelmingly this novel felt like
I've given this an A for narration and B+ for content at AudioGals.

Originally published in 1958, The Winthrop Woman is a richly detailed piece of biographical fiction based on the life of Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett, niece of John Winthrop, one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and its first Governor.

The book opens at Christmas 1618 when Elizabeth is just seven years old and she is travelling with her family to visit her well-to-do relatives, the Winthrops, at Groton in
Mandy Moody
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
I've learned so much from this book....I knew the basics about the settlers who left their English roots behind to make a new life for themselves in America, but really, I had no idea of what life was like for these people, both on the long, often perilous sea voyages, or in the new settlements they lived in once they arrived in the new world.
I found this book totally fascinating....I liked how it began in England giving such a good background to those who were to travel to a new life, the
I sure enjoyed my second reading of this book which was fascinating to me and I would give it 6 stars if I could. I especially enjoyed the ending which was a big surprise for me. I recommend it for everyone.

I have enjoyed all her books but one did give me screaming nightmares and it was Green Darkness!
I dare not read it again but I have also read Katherine twice.

Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
It is so evident from teh very beginning, how much research Anya Seton did to be able to together this superbly well-written and well-tol story of onw young woman's plight in leaving England for America and religious freedom, only to find the Puritans of the new country were even ruthless Law-keepers and persecutors. People came lookig for freedom from religious heavy-handed religious rules and persecution, only to find themselves no better in many ways. I could not put this book down!

I also had
I gave this up before the halfway mark. It was tiresomely slow with nothing else to hold my attention. Wrong book, wrong person.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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.
Sabrina Michel
I was expecting great things from this novel. A heroine based on a real life person. The location (the Massachussetts Bay Colony), and so forth. But as is often the case with Anya Seton's novels - I either really like them or don't like them at all. This book falls into the second category. It started off well enough for me; but as I kept reading, I felt my interest starting to flag. I thought the cliches were just too simple and occurred too often. The Indians are all "noble savages" and too ...more
Beth Sponzilli
This is one of my favorite authors. This book is quite a journey for Elizabeth Winthrop. This story shows the early days of Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the surrounding areas of the Dutch settlements. Seton knows her early American history and the details are incredible. Her writing just captures you in and it keeps your interest through out the book. The last half of the book was just one thing after another happening! A must read for Anya Seton fans and for a good historical story of ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I read this book many years ago, probably when I was in my early twenties. This time I listened to an audio version and was astonished to find that I had remembered almost nothing! A good but much fictionalized story of a real woman. I loved it.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Puritans, squaws, apothecaries, goodwives, erstwhile 'maidenhood abandoned' and 'importunate virility dwindled,' this one is for committed fans of historical romances. Beautiful and tempestuous Elizabeth Winthrop faces many travails as she leaves London and settles in the New World. You may find it sweeping and rich, or over-long and tedious. Pick one.
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Ashley Legler
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 42
Such a fantastic book, and I’m not just saying that because Elizabeth is my 10x great-grandmother :)
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 ...more
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Book Review 2 30 May 09, 2012 09:49PM  

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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
“A woman with opinions had better develop a thick skin and a loud voice.” 148 likes
“Nay, it's not the Devil been leading her astray. It's books! That girl has been nothing but trouble ever since she learned how to read.” 88 likes
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