Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Review: 'Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva' by Eliza Redgold


Though historical romance is not my usual genre, I was very interested in reading this book. We know the legend of Lady Godiva, now I got to meet the woman and see the author’s interpretation of the story behind her ride. I’m glad I did.
First off, be warned that the author’s writing style might not resonate for everyone. She uses fragments, and some choppy sentences, but I didn’t find it intrusive. I zipped through the pages, interested in the world she built. I confess that I’m not well-versed in many of the historical references or mores of the times, so can’t comment on whether they are correct, but I completely enjoyed seeing the way life was then.
Godiva is strong and loving. She comes from a family who adores her and is destroyed when her parents are killed. Yes, she’s young and a bit na├»ve at times, but she does what she needs to do in order to care for her people. She’s a ruler and a woman to be admired.
We readers aren’t sure whether to root for her relationship with Leofric, whom she marries from necessity, especially when we know he is the one who will eventually cause her to shame herself and ride naked through the town. Is he a good man or an evil one? Should she have married her childhood friend, Edmund, instead?
I admired the author’s story telling prowess and imagination, along with the little historical tidbits she sprinkled in here and there; the day-to-day routines, the food, the herbs. The secondary characters, too, were well drawn, which isn’t always easy to do in a book written in first person.
While, at its heart this is a romance, it’s not a typical one, and those going in expecting that might be disappointed. It’s a dramatic retelling of a historical event that includes romance, but also so much more. I enjoyed this book, and am glad I had the chance to read it.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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