REVIEW: The Water Gypsy by Julie Ann Godson

Synopsis: AT DUSK on a snowy evening in 1766 a tired young couple – hardly more than children at 21 and 20 – made out the welcoming lights burning in the windows of the creaky old Berkshire manor house that was to be their home. He was William Flower, 2nd Viscount Ashbrook, 3rd Baron Castle Durrow in the county of Kilkenny, she was Betty Ridge, daughter of a lowly Thames fisherman. Earlier that day they had been married against the wishes of the groom’s family in a small country church in the little Oxfordshire village of Northmoor, and now Betty was embarking on a new life in the alien world of the aristocracy. Found at

I arrived at my Grandma’s house to be presented with this book she wanted me to read. She had read it at her book club and thought I would enjoy it, based upon my love of history and real stories. I will be honest, I wasn’t overly sure how I would cope with a book with so many different dates and stories. I needn’t have worried. At the front of the book, you are supplied with family trees which I only found I needed towards the end of the book just to remind myself of people’s relations to one another!

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The book follows all of the family members through a few generations and I was concerned it would almost feel like and overload of information, but the the way in which Godson flits between family members stories, was beautifully written. This is something I also mentioned to my 84 year old Grandma, to which she agreed that it was easy to ‘stay on board with everything that was being written’.

I fell in love with Betty and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how this young woman ended up in position that she did, and how that helped transform the futures of her family.

I absolutely recommend this book, especially if you, like me, enjoy history and seeing how others used to live. Godson is a brilliant writer and the detail of the research undertaken is greatly appreciated.

Rating ✶✶✶✶

Get your copy here – The Water Gypsy (affiliate)

Marie-Clare x

1 Comment

  1. It sounds like an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

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