Review: A Woman of Noble Wit by Rosemary Griggs.


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.


I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful book about the life of Katherine Raleigh.

I admittedly love most Historical Fiction that is set in and around the Tudor period, especially when it is from the perspective of a woman. The fact the book is set in Devon (my home county) meant I knew a fair few of the places mentioned, which made it all the more enjoyable for me.

I enjoyed learning about Katherine’s life during a turbulent period of history, and how this affected both her and her family, even though they lived many miles away from the centre of things at court. It is fascinating to see her day to day life, beliefs and values and how these went on to form her children into the people they became, most notably, of course, her last-born child, Sir Walter Raleigh. Her life is full of ups and downs, turmoil and grief but she also finds love, passion, contentment and joy which I believe makes this such a brilliant page-turner.

Rosemary Griggs has a great ability to take the minimal facts known about Katherine’s life and merge them with her fantastic knowledge of the period and localities involved to form this amazing, vivid, piece of fiction. I truly didn’t want the book to end.

I hope to read more from Rosemary in the future.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Matador for the e-arc to review.

Author Bio

Rosemary Griggs is a retired Whitehall Senior Civil Servant with a lifelong passion for history. She is now a speaker on Devon’s sixteenth century history and costume. She makes regular costumed appearances at National Trust houses and local museums and also leads heritage tours at Dartington Hall. Through her extensive research she has uncovered the lives of forgotten Tudor women and been drawn into an intriguing network of interconnected families whose influence stretched far beyond beautiful Devon.

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