The Butcher's Daughter

The Butcher's Daughter

3.65 (330 ratings by Goodreads)

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'Historical fiction at its finest.' @MargaretAtwood

It is 1535 and Agnes Peppin, daughter of a West-country butcher, has been banished, leaving her family home in disgrace to live out the rest of her life cloistered behind the walls of Shaftesbury Abbey.

While Agnes grapples with the complex rules and hierarchies of the sisterhood, King Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Head of the Church of England. Religious houses are being formally subjugated, monasteries dissolved, and the great Abbey is no exception to the purge.

Cast out with her sisters, Agnes is at last free to be the master of her own fate. But freedom comes at a price as she descends into a world she knows little about, using her wits and testing her moral convictions against her need to survive - by any means necessary...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 35mm | 318g
  • Duckworth
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0715652923
  • 9780715652923
  • 475,041

Review quote

'A touching, vivid and sometimes deeply shocking depiction of the lives of ordinary people whose world was shattered by Henry VIII's policy to dissolve England's monasteries. A must for anyone interested in the Tudor period' -- Elizabeth Fremantle, author of Queen's Gambit (The Tudor Trilogy) 'A powerful and very immediate picture of another age. It is full of violence and loss, and yet it is also a testament to survival, courage, pity, and the eternal beauty to be found in small things' -- Anne Perry 'A brave girl, a powerful tale, a world on the brink of change - and how the past leaps into life!' -- Fay Weldon 'Marvellous.... heart-breaking and unforgettable... a by times humorous, by times tragic but always compelling picaresque tale.' * The Irish Times * 'Glendinning writes with a vivid immediacy about a fascinating, dark moment in our island story... a refreshing and original tale [about] the underside of Henry's religious Reformation.' * The Times * 'A beguiling, affecting tale of dissolution and redemption set in a changing - and beautifully wrought - Tudor landscape. Gloriously authentic and refreshingly unromantic, this one got under my skin' -- Jessie Child, historian and award-winning author of Henry VIII's Last Victim and God's Traitors 'An absolute pleasure... assured, quietly gripping, surprising and educative, with a terrific central character, it pins down the precarious nature of life in 16th-century England' * Daily Mail * "As the butcher's daughter reflects on all she sees, Glendinning makes this tale exhilarating, lending Agnes a candid, eccentrically lyrical voice." * Jean Zimmerman, New York Times * 'The novel that chronicles the human cost of Henry's edict is well written with wonderfully rendered descriptions of place and period and an evocative mix of fiction and fact... at once immediate and intimate... The author has created an interesting and observant narrator whose actions and reflections are in the main consistent with her circumstances and the period in which the story takes place... The setting and scene tease like any bodice ripper... With each episode in Agnes' journey, the author deepens a malleable canvas of reactions to the edict that punished thousands of women and men formerly confined in religious life, but Agnes Peppin's rock-bottom motivation is to survive... In a world ruled by men cowed before a fickle tyrant, Agnes's decisions are not only pragmatic but authentic to her time and place which, after all, has to be the guiding principle for historically based fiction.' * New York Journal of Books * 'I loved this book from the very first page, for the poised lyricism of the writing and for the fascination of the story. Agnes Peppin, the butcher's daughter, is an enchanting witness to turbulent times, and the cataclysmic events that shape her life become newly urgent and thrilling as seen through her eyes. This is a wonderful novel - sometimes tragic, sometimes redemptive, always thoughtful and wise.' -- Margaret Leroy, author of The English Girl 'An immersive, engrossing, and epic journey of a woman's soul, finely researched and beautifully written.' -- Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I
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About Victoria Glendinning

Victoria Glendinning is a British biographer, critic, broadcaster and novelist. Born in Sheffield and educated at Oxford where she studied modern languages, she later worked for The TLS. She is an Honorary Vice-President of English PEN, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was appointed a CBE in 1998, is the twice winner of the Whitbread Biography award and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature. A regular contributor of articles and reviews to various UK newspapers and magazines, she is also the author of three widely acclaimed novels: The Grown-Ups, Electricity, and Flight.
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Rating details

330 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 18% (60)
4 44% (145)
3 27% (90)
2 6% (20)
1 5% (15)
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