Book Review: A Woman of Noble Wit by Rosemary Griggs

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Matador
Pub date: 7 September 2021

Few women of her time lived to see their name in print. But Katherine was no ordinary woman. She was Sir Walter Raleigh’s mother. This is her story.

Set against the turbulent background of a Devon rocked by the religious and social changes that shaped Tudor England; a Devon of privateers and pirates; a Devon riven by rebellions and plots, A Woman of Noble Wit tells how Katherine became the woman who would inspire her famous sons to follow their dreams. It is Tudor history seen though a woman’s eyes.

As the daughter of a gentry family with close connections to the glittering court of King Henry VIII, Katherine’s duty is clear. She must put aside her dreams and accept the husband chosen for her. Still a girl, she starts a new life at Greenway Court, overlooking the River Dart, relieved that her husband is not the ageing monster of her nightmares. She settles into the life of a dutiful wife and mother until a chance shipboard encounter with a handsome privateer, turns her world upside down.…..

Years later a courageous act will set Katherine’s name in print and her youngest son will fly high.

Katherine-Kate Raleigh née Champernowne was the mother of Sir Walter Raleigh and wife to Walter Raleigh senior. She was also the sister of Elizabeth’s governess Kat Champernowne.

A Woman of Noble Wit is her story, set in Devon. Katherine lived through four monarchs and saw her son rise to be a favourite of Elizabeth although passed before his execution.

This book not only tells her story but life during the Tudor dynasty, war, sickness and religion all played a part in peoples lives.
Katherine was well educated and made it her mission to ensure her children were too.
Her sons including Walter followed their father’s footsteps taking to the seas.

Although this is historical fiction it is also the work of meticulous research and for those like myself who have an interest in Walter Raleigh it brings to life his childhood and upbringing including circumstances which may have helped shape the man he became.

For someone who didn’t live a life at court, Katherine’s life is fascinating and this was a joy to read. Griggs has a wonderful writing style, capturing details and emotions throughout the whole book. I highly recommend this and I am truly looking forward to seeing what comes next from Rosemary Griggs.

Thank you to NetGalley and Matador for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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