NAKED – Eliza Redgold
A Novel of Lady Godiva
A Perfect 10
St. Martin's Griffin
Coventry – 1023
Godiva, beloved daughter and only child of Saxon Lord Radulf and Lady Morwen, rulers of the Middle Lands, is left in Coventry when her parents attend the Witan, a council of lords. She has been raised to be not only a dutiful daughter, but her father has trained her as a warrior too. She is confident, independent, and thinks she's in love with her bodyguard, Edmund, with whom she's grown up since her parents took him in as a child. Godiva's world comes crashing down, however, when Edmund rides in with terrible news. The Danes, led by the vicious Thurkill the Tall, have ambushed Godiva's parents and their retinue, and only Edmund returns. Knowing that Thurkill is heading towards Coventry, it is up to Godiva to defend her lands.
Shortly after hearing the horrifying news about her parents, Godiva is surprised when the Saxon earl from Mercia rides into Coventry with his men. Despite her voicing her feelings that she and her people can defend against the Danes, Leofric remains and eventually when Thurkill's army arrives, the Saxons are able to deflect the invasion. But the danger is not over, and Godiva is well aware of that. Despite her independent talk, she knows that marrying Leofric and combining their two lands may be the only way to keep her people safe. It isn't until Thurkill threatens again, that Godiva is convinced that wedding the Mercian earl is the best decision. But she will only agree to marriage if Leofric guarantees that she, and she alone, will rule her own lands.
After the wedding, Godiva yearns to learn more about her enigmatic husband. He doesn't talk about his family, or his life in Mercia. In fact, he rarely shares anything with her about his past. Stubborn, Godiva also withholds her feelings for the man who shares her bed, despite how well they seem to be matched there. Godiva's loyalty to her people will eventually come between them.
The tale of Lady Godiva is well known in legend and poetry, but many questions remained about just how her husband could demand she ride naked through the streets of Coventry. NAKED makes a credible and realistic explanation through excellent research and brilliant writing. Godiva and Leofric lived in harsh times, and this story presents an interesting interpretation to a long ago time.