Author: Eliza Redgold
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Type of book: 1023-1024? marriage, ruling, Engla-lond, Saxons vs Danes, battles, determination, taxes, friendship, loyaly, Beowulf, Peace weaver,
Year it was published: 2015
We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don't know her true story.
We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva's ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for 'peeping Tom') and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.
Naked is an original version of Godiva's tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.
There are a few characters but I feel that they didn't play a big role in the story as Godiva and Leofric have, and unfortunately they didn't develop as I had hoped. Lady Godiva is an only daughter of a Saxon family that entrusts her with the care of Coventry. She is brave, fearless, a bit tomboyish, a warrior, and very stubborn and determined no matter what. Leofric becomes Godiva's husband in the book, and he is a strong, secretive, silent and stubborn type. He also has reasons for doing the things he is doing. Other characters include Edmund who was Godiva's childhood friend and has more than friendly feelings for her as well as Godiva's nurse, Leofric's brother and a close female friend. While we do get to see these characters briefly, I felt as if I didn't fuly meet them.
Strength comes in different forms
The story is told in first person narrative from Godiva's point of view. Although its an engaging story of battles, choices and actions, I do feel that character development could have been given a bit more attention. It seems that some characters really do not go through character growth as one expects, and I think I wanted for Leofric's development to accelarate a little throughout the book because it feels to sudden when it happens. I did enjoy the research and visiting the 11th century England and learning a bit about Saxons as well as how life was back then.
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I knew very little about Lady Godiva, aside from those delicious chocolates that I tried once, and few times when I was reading historical fiction set in 11th century, I came across her name a few times, where it mentioned that she was Leofric's Wife, and that was it. The story was really impressive because there was something poetic about the writing style, yet the author is able to convey information without too many details, which makes for a short and a delightful read that should appeal to people who are new historical fiction genre or for those who are seeking plausible explanations as to what might have happened in the past. Also, if the reader is looking for a very strong heroine, then look no further than Lady Godiva who was portrayed as a warrior, a ruler and a wife.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)