Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Godiva - Nerys Jones

Note: Hey all, I am back after a long while, this time for good.Mom has been sick, I have been sick and I have had a hectic few months of it but now I am resolved to continue blogging here regularly. Wish me luck!

I love all Godiva chocolates. Especially their chocolate covered pretzels. And the figure of the lady atop her horse that is their logo has always intrigued me. Who was Godiva? Did she really ride naked and bareback on a horse in Coventry in Anglo-Saxon England? If that is the case, what is the reason? Wikipedia gives you the answers, as I am sure, do numerous other websites or books if one was to search for them. But from what little I have read, I decidedly prefer Nerys Jones's Godiva.

England, AD 1045. Edward the Confessor, the childless, half-Norman, Virgin King is holding England by the sinew of her neck. He is the puppet master. The Normans are closing in and the three powerful Anglo-Saxon Earls of England: Siward of Northumbria, Godwin of Wessex and Lovric of Mercia have to do all they can to prevent their country from falling into the hands of the Normans; even if it means going to war against the king.

Into this hotbed is thrown Lady Godiva, the beautiful wife of the Earl of Mercia. King Edward has targeted the Lordship of Merica for reasons known only to him and Lovric and Godiva are fast falling from the favour of the court. Godiva's sons are captured under various false charges and leaving behind an earldom that is falling into famine and cattle plague, Lovric and Godiva must fly to Winchester to try and placate the king. In 1045 AD England, there are powerful manipulators abroad, the influence of the church is immense and the King continues to play games with his earls, his people and the future of his country. What does the king want with Godiva? Why have her family and her people been singled out? The machinations of the court go on forever and Godiva finds herself on shaky ground as her hitherto solid marriage is undermined, her children are in danger, her lands and her people in misery. The king is playing games and if she has to survive, if she has to win, so must she.

Nerys Jones's Godiva makes a wonderful read. Her style of writing is lucid and one cannot help but be fascinated at the threads of history that were woven a thousand years ago. I loved Nerys Jones's interpretation of the legendary horse ride and to me at least it seems more plausible than the explanation that Wikipedia has to offer. Godiva might not be a particularly great mother to her daughter Millie, she might be blind and heedless, she may not realize the true worth of her husband most of the time, but she is a fighter. She has pluck and courage and never gives up on her people as she tries to beat the king at his own game and for her, I can read this book again and again. Fans of historical novels will love this one.


Birdy said...

Neat review! Will keep a watch out for this :)

Whitney said...

This book looks almost as good as the chocolate itself. Great review!

Vaishnavi said...

Birdy - Thanks a lot! Do read it if you can!

Whitney - Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I am sure you will enjoy this book :)

Anonymous said...

I love the Godiva chocolates as well.

I remember reading this book. I loved it. I have read a fair amont of historical fiction from the Elizaethan era and around that, but never one that was this old. I must say, I enjoyed it loads. I loved Nerys' style. It really helped the caharcters jump out the page.