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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,086 Ratings  ·  70 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)
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Rating details
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Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 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
Jan 09, 2013 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
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
Kimi Augusto
Oct 21, 2010 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
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
A fantastic book by a very gifted author. Excellent!
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
Jul 10, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Giving up on this. It's just frankly a little too slow and boring, but my biggest issue is the main character, Thu. I liked her ambition and confidence at first, but 100 pages in she starts to seem so self absorbed and petty. Not for me.
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
May 19, 2014 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
The Book Voucher
Feb 14, 2016 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
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.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Después de mucho tiempo, me apetecía leer alguna novela romántica y el tema del antiguo Egipto me gusta desde siempre.
Era exactamente lo que esperaba y lo que buscaba. Una vez empiezas leer y no puedes parar. Cada día cerraba el libro pensando lo que va a suceder a la pequeña Thu. Estoy acostumbrada de que las típicas heroínas de las novelas románticas son descritas como "las buenas" . Las que se ha hecho algún daño pero Thu es diferente. Es buena y mala, es inocente y perversa. Llegué a simpat
Shira Bea
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History Buffs
The author has such a way with words in depicting scenarios in Ancient Egypt. I love history, but my favorite of all is studying Ancient Egypt. In no means I am an expert, but the novel made me learn more in depth about Ancient Egypt that no other history books have given me.

First, I like the setting, the culture, the way of life depicted by the author. It made me imagine what the cultural climate was like. Thu's father made me think he was a Viking, or a Gaul, or someone belonging to the north
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
There's some joke to be made about the Nile/denial, but that's low-hanging fruit.

So... Ayn Ra and the tell tale canopic jar.
Certes le contexte historique est bien évoqué mais pour le reste ... J'aurais mieux apprécié l'histoire si je l'avais lue ado Là, franchement, je m'y suis ennuyé
Harlieu Katz
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful. Gedge Knows this era of ancient history like the back of her hand. A book you will never forget.
Carrie Slager
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last line of this blurb is very, very true. House of Dreams explores the darker side of the land of the pharaohs, the side that is usually ignored by amateur and even professional historians and archaeologists. Life was not all beauty and luxury, especially for peasants, which is demonstrated in great detail in this book. Not only is House of Dreams mostly historically accurate (except in the timing of certain events at the end of the novel), it is well-written and emotionally resonant.

Thu i
Hannah Mitchell
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2011 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
Helen C
Sep 07, 2015 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
Aug 09, 2013 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
B.J. Richardson
Pauline Gedge did a horrible job of bringing the reader into what is one of the most fascinating of historical periods. This in itself is quite an accomplishing considering how enthralling the time period is all by itself. I never enjoyed Thu as the main. She was a petulant child, and just as one dimensional as the rest of the characters.
The second star is because there were few blatantly off cultural or timeline errors. Gedge can't write a novel, but at least she can fact check. Feel fre
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.
Jun 20, 2013 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.
Dec 06, 2013 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.
Lauren Doll
Dec 22, 2010 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.
Mar 28, 2009 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.
Lorina Stephens
Mar 21, 2009 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.
Mar 20, 2010 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 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.
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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
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