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Godiva by Nerys Jones

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat April 18th, 2009, 2:23 pm

Thanks Annis. I'm willing to give this one a whirl, and glad that the library popped for a few copies. Much easier to give up and move on when I haven't paid dearly for it :o :)
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat April 18th, 2009, 11:10 pm

Apart from anything else, "Godiva" (pronounced "Goodeeva", btw- I didn't know that before!) is certainly worth reading for its picture of the life of an Anglo-Saxon aristocratic household, and particularly the life of an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman. After the Norman Conquest an aristocratic woman would never again have the power and freedom of choice which Godiva exercised as of right. Under the Normans a woman might exercise power in some situations as her husband's agent, but not on her own behalf.

Many of the restrictions on women would come from the imported Norman variety of Roman Catholicism, much more rigid and dogmatic than the English Church, which was still influenced by the older, more tolerant Celtic Church that first converted the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.
Last edited by annis on Sun April 19th, 2009, 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon April 27th, 2009, 1:59 am

My main complaint with "Godiva" was that Edward was presented as such a total villain. Although we can accept that Edward's childhood probably left him a damaged person, he really was painted too black to ring true and to some extent this compromised the story for me


I just bailed on this book and for that very reason. I am certainly not a historian of any period but the way Edward was portrayed is so completely different from Anand and Hollick's versions that I just wasn't buying into it. Not quite a wall-banger but certianly a DNF.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
Lisa
Bibliophile
Favorite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Which to read first?

Postby Lisa » Mon November 26th, 2012, 12:31 pm

On my (far too big) TBR pile at the moment I have Godiva by Nerys Jones, but also Helen Hollick's A Hollow Crown (which was later edited and republished as The Forever Queen). Can anyone recommend which one is better to read first?

At the moment I have only a general knowledge of what went on at that period in time. Helen Hollick's would make chronological sense to read first, but from what I've read in this thread her characterisation of Edward is a lot better, so like Misfit I might enjoy Godiva less if I read it afterwards.

I like to try to read things in chronological order where possible, especially when it's a period I don't know a huge amount about, so that lesser known (real-life) events aren't 'spoiled' (it's quite nice to still be at a stage where some HF can surprise me!).

So, is Godiva's characterisation really that bad that I should read it first?

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed November 28th, 2012, 2:27 am

My belief (as I said in the review I wrote for Margaret's Historical Novels Info website) is that Nerys Jones had a feminist agenda when she wrote this novel.It reads rather like a legend or fairy story, so I've described it as a fable. We have Godiva, the good and beautiful golden-haired heroine, the fair-seeming but devious huntsman who leads her astray in the woods and is an agent for the black-hearted villain, King Edward, whose queen, Edith Godwinson, is a good ringer for the Wicked Witch of the West. Those who prefer a "stick to the facts" approach to their HF may find it annoyingly unrealistic.
Last edited by annis on Tue December 4th, 2012, 12:18 am, edited 7 times in total.

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Wed November 28th, 2012, 5:11 am

There'll be a new novel about Godiva out in July from Nicole Galland... it's called simply Godiva: A Novel. There's a blurb and cover art at Goodreads.

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Wed November 28th, 2012, 1:07 pm

The Fool's tale by Galland played very fast and loose with Welsh history and had a weird ending. I don't know how this bodes for Godiva.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Wed November 28th, 2012, 1:55 pm

I didn't care for Fool's Tale either, for similar reasons. Too unbelievable, and even though the author's note explained her choices, that didn't save it; it just put me off further. I'll consider reading Godiva but may wait to hear others' reports first.

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Shield-of-Dardania
Reader

Postby Shield-of-Dardania » Wed January 30th, 2013, 7:37 am

"Melisende" wrote:(1) A knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England, pre-Norman Conquest, is not essential but it does help.

I might pick it up, just to help build up my current meagre knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England.

One question: Were there any significant wave of early Norman immigrants to England, pre-1066? Specifically the earliest years of 11th century. I could just toss it as a minor element into my WIP, but I just thought that I ought to know the actual historical fact.
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Wed January 30th, 2013, 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed January 30th, 2013, 7:20 pm

English history pre-Conquest is complex and inextricably tangled with the Danes - in fact during this period the English were almost as much Anglo-Scandinavian as Anglo-Saxon. King Harold Godwinsson was half-Danish on his mother's side.

The Normans were in contact with England from an early date, given that they occupied most of the important ports opposite England across the Channel. However Norman influence in England really began in 1002 with the marriage of King Aethelred of England to Emma, sister of Duke Richard II of Normandy. (Reading this brief biography of Emma will give you a reasonable idea of events during the pre-Conquest period). England at the time was plagued by Viking incursions, and Normandy (originally settled by Vikings) was often used as a Viking base for attacks on England. By marrying Emma, Aethelred hoped for a peaceful solution to that problem. After Aethelred's death, Emma married the new Danish king of England, Cnut, and acted as regent in England for a while after Cnut's death. Danish kings came and went until eventually Emma's son by Aethelred, Edward, was recalled from exile in Normandy and crowned king of England in 1043. Having spent much of his life in Normandy, Edward (the Confessor) was much more attuned to the Norman way of life than the English, and upset the English by bringing many Normans to England. He not only preferred them as associates, but also gave them many important offices, including earldoms and bishoprics.

The short answer is, though there were many Danish settlers in England, there wasn't a general wave of Normans entering England before the Conquest. Their presence only became noticeable during Edward's reign, when that relatively small group of Normans he favoured became an elite clique with an influential place in English government. Perhaps the hero in your WIP could be connected with Emma or Edward in some way? William the Conqueror’s claim to the English throne was through Emma as well - she was his great-aunt.
Last edited by annis on Sat February 2nd, 2013, 2:24 am, edited 20 times in total.


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