If you can be patient and stick with this book trough the first 75 or 100 pages, it all becomes worth it. I have seen this book called “historical fiction lite” but if you were in my shoes, and you appreciate historical romance, you would see this as a little more ‘hefty” of a read. This book is filled with details that are sometimes boring and at other times, quite illuminating.
There are well-drawn characters, enough historical fact without the book turning into a history textbook. You do not have to overly suspend your disbelief and the author makes what could have been a dry regurgitation of a tale told almost too many times, into a wonderfully entertaining story.
Once I slogged through the who’s, what’s and where’s and figured out that Godiva wasn’t really the slut she portrayed herself as. Godiva is, though, as portrayed here in this book, a manipulative, selfish, arrogant woman. She is also proud, caring, shameless and on the side of right. She is a woman that was a surprise for me considering the era. Once I figured out that she saw men as nothing more than testosterone-ridden pawns in her game of anti-taxation, I was able to settle in for a good read. I was surprised to find so much humor in a book about such a serious issue.
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The secondary story about Mother Edgiva, was fascinating and almost deserves a book of her own. Her ‘crush’ with Sweyen and subsequent issues with said ‘crush’, made this book satisfying to this admitted lowly “Historical Romance Lover”. Edgiva is one person that Godiva probably should not have meddled with, but I can see why she did. There are political ramifications as well as personal ones with the relationship between Edgiva and Sweyen.
I loved seeing King Edward portrayed as an almost idiotic, ultra moralistic, yet surprisingly clever character. It just takes a while to see Edward as he truly is. The idea that he would use Godiva’s vanity against her in this manner was clever and fitting. When you look even further, you find that the King is even cleverer in his punishment, since this punishment subtly delivers a harsh blow to Leofric more than to Godiva. For the era, it seems that Godiva and Leofric had a very nearly modern grasp on what marriage is.
As I said, this book is slow to start, but will intrigue those who like serious fiction as well as those that like fiction on the more entertaining side. *ARC SUPPLIED BY PUBLISHER*