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The Swan-Daughter (The Daughters of Hastings Book 2) Kindle Edition

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Product Description


Sarah Bower, author of The Needle in the Blood and The Book of Love 'A wise and lyrical evocation of the lives of women in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest, and high romance in the true sense of the word. A captivating read.

About the Author

Carol McGrath taught History and English for many years in both the state and private sectors. She left teaching to work on a MA in Creative Writing from Queens University Belfast, then an MPhil in English at Royal Holloway, London, where she developed her expertise on the Middle Ages. The idea to tell the story about the death of King Harold told from the viewpoint of his common law wife, Edith Swan-Neck, first came to her on a visit to Bayeux with the Launton/Gavray Twinning Society, which she chaired. Carol is married with two children and runs a business with her husband. She also reviews books for the Historical Novels Review.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 695 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Accent Press (24 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L5JN5K2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,335 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Based in England, Carol McGrath writes Historical Fiction. She studied History at Queens University Belfast, has an MA in Creative Writing from the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast and an English MPhil from Royal Holloway, University of London. The Handfasted Wife is her debut novel, first in a trilogy titled The Daughters of Hastings. The second and third novels The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister have followed and are now available on amazon and in bookshops. Carol is an historian specialised in The Medieval Era. Her first love, however, is writing. She is an avid reader and reviewer.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lizzie James on 3 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Swan-Daughter is a lovely story. It tells the tale of Gunnhild, one of the daughters of King Harold of 1066 fame, and his first wife, Edith, known for her beauty as Edith Swanneck. Edith Swanneck’s story is told in 'The Handfasted Wife’. The Swan-Daughter is the second in the trilogy of The Daughters of Hastings.

Once again, the reader is taken back to the period of the early Normans, which is exquisitely conveyed through the attention to detail that Carol McGrath, a highly skilled researcher, has paid to the period.

The political events of the times are brought alive for the reader, and are a backdrop for a vivid depiction of the lives of the people at that time, of the castles and houses in which they lived, rich and poor, of their food, their clothes, of childbirth and medical care, of the role that religion plays in society and especially of the position of women in the Middle Ages. The constraints and obligations placed upon women at that time, particularly those born to the nobility, are graphically captured in the pages of the novel, and will be of great interest, I'm sure, to women of today.

Gunnhild was brought up in Wilton Abbey, and not surprisingly since she is an heiress of importance, the church is keen for her to stay in the nunnery. Gunnhild, however, has no desire for a religious life, nor for any sort of life within the precincts of a nunnery. She longs to escape, and she longs for love. The possibility of escape comes in the attractive form of the slightly older Count Alan of Richmond and Brittany, the red-headed knight who had once been a suitor for her mother’s hand.

Count Alan’s path crosses Gunnhild's on more than one occasion, and each time they exchange friendly banter. He then proposes that they elope.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By littleangelicrose on 26 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Another stunner from Ms McGrath takes us further in the story of the family of King Harold after he fell at the Battle of Hastings. This time we follow the life of his daughter, Gunnhild, which seems to belong to the realms of Hollywood sensationalism but is actually entirely true. Avoiding spoilers, we are taken from England to Brittany and back again, meeting new characters, some of whom are warm and friendly, others not so, yet all are perfectly rounded and believable.

What Ms McGrath excels at is bringing you into a Medieval household and making it feel as real and vital as one's own. The detail is extraordinary and vivid and so recognisable - people were no different to us, they still ate, drank and coveted clothes and sparkly things. Gunnhild's near obsession with a gown belonging to her aunt is touching and so very human, taking her from childhood to womanhood.

This novel can be read as a stand alone story and works well as such, but to fully appreciate the impact of the events that over-take the characters one really should read 'The Handfasted Wife' first. And why wouldn't you? It is just as brilliant as this novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn P. Harvey on 27 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Couldn't wait for this second book from Carol McGrath. It continues the story of 'The Handfasted Wife, the daughters of Hastings'. It tells the story of Gunnhild one of the daughters of King Harold and Edith Swan-Neck. What a difficult but fascinating life Gunnhild must have had in a time when women were of no importance. The descriptions of Wilton Abbey were particularly fascinating as Wilton is near to where I live!
It is a beautifully written story, the sentences rolled like 'honey' on the page and any story that has me in tears for most of it warrants a second and even third re-read. Just can't wait for the third book now!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Jackson on 29 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second of Carol McGrath's books on the daughters of King Harold (of arrow in the eye fame).

As in the Handfasted Wife, her first book in the series, this is a meticulously researched book. fortunately Carol has the gift of not letting this get in the way of telling a rollicking good story. Its a fascinating era to write about, and in Carol's capable hands, to read about as well.

Alternating between England and Brittany, in a time when the Doomsday Book was causing all of England to re-evalueate their lives, and with a cracking love story at its heart, this was a really good read.

Now I'm looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs U M Bates on 25 May 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in this series and had been looking forward to this second one. The first one was already excellent, this one, in my opinion, is even better. It is based on the same assumption: History should be told through the eyes of women who were, after all, often central to the events but also frequently quite powerless. This novel looks at the options available to a high-ranking young woman: life in a convent or marriage to an unloved knight. Both alternatives mean being wanted only for one's wealth and rank, and abdicating any right to self-determination. So far, so bleak. What makes this novel outstanding is the combination of painstaking historical research leading to what to me (not a historian) looks like a very accurate depiction of society shortly after the Norman conquest, together with a detailed description of the web of relationships (with people of all social stations, male and female) which could make life under such prescribed circumstances bearable and even joyful. This is a book about strong women who do, in the end, have a surprising amount of power after all. It is a very well-spun story, written in a style which made the book hard to put down. I read it in almost one sitting and am about to buy the next volume.
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