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|Print List Price:||£7.99|
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The Handfasted Wife (The Daughters of Hastings Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 378 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
The story builds slowly, showing the background for why he set aside his `handfasted' wife for a political marriage, and the kind of prejudices that his first wife, Elditha (the main character) encountered. But it quickly builds as war approaches. We are spared the horrific battle, but from there on in, the action builds as we are plunged into the grief of loss as well as the fight for survival and for her children that Elditha and others like her endured.
I was especially taken by how Danish, Irish, English and Norman themes are interwoven, reflecting the way people of that era actually lived and how they perceived each other. So different from dry history books! And had I been more patient, many of the questions I wanted to ask were answered in McGrath's postscript. Best of all, I understand that there are more books about the Godwin women on their way!
The Handfasted Wife is an incredibly well-researched book; it is steeped in the past, but it carries the weight of history lightly, just as a good historical novel should. The characters are drawn deftly and convincingly and you learn to love them. Without giving anything away, if I had to pick a favourite character, it would be, apart from the protagonist and the other remarkable women of the story, Padar, that wandering skald, who also turns out to be a warrior. To me, he is the nexus between the Vikings and the English, one of the intriguing characters that allows McGrath to give life to the multifaceted society of the eleventh century. Those who have knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon culture, enjoy spotting the many references to Old English poems and other cultural references. I personally relished the scene with Beowulf!
I recommend The Handfasted Wife whole-heartedly to all fans of historical novels as well as to those interested in Anglo-Saxon period. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was sorry when the book came to an end, but I am comforted in the fact that the story continues in the next instalment with Gunnhild. I cannot wait!
The fairytale-sounding opening chapter promised something really different, and after that you get a very good idea of what life could have been like in 1066 (for women at the top of the feudal system, at least).
Unfortunately it takes more than a lot of research and some meticulous scene setting for these long-ago events to come alive: this story needed a big injection of emotion to make the characters and their relationships seem real. These women have lost everything, their husbands and sons are all dead or in exile, yet I was left completely dry-eyed as I plodded through some very dull journeys. In places it read more like a modern translation of a contemporary chronicle than a novel.
It's a blank canvas, after all, so she could have done all sorts of things with it. What a wasted opportunity.
But I didn't begrudge the bargain price, and I'll probably try the next in the series to see if it improves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book well written and with lots of information, a really good historical novel. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Mrs M.
Enjoyed this book very much couldn't stop reading it. Very well writtenPublished 21 days ago by Susan Case
Fiction and history are woven together almost seamlessly. Everyone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings, but this novel brings the period to life. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elaine P.
And I would really have enjoyed this book, as it is a favourite historical period of mine. I was lent the paperback, and am buying the kindle edition. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Turner
Have enjoyed this book so much, will now purchase the last book in the trilogyPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Reading this historical novel,has increased my wish to visit the Bayeaux Tapestries. It is another addition to my ToDo list.Published 3 months ago by Lynn