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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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- Book 1 of 3 in The Daughters Of Hastings (3 Book Series)
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Top Customer Reviews
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 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 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
Good story. Not a period of history I know much about. Well written.Published 29 days ago by Valerie Lamb
I found this book hard to put down, you become entangled within the story. A real must for lovers of historical fiction, especially the women, of whom history seems to forget.Published 1 month ago by Mrs Kim Gallagher
great read looking forward to the other books in the series if they are as good as this one I will not be disappointed I highly recommend this book for all that enjoy about... Read morePublished 1 month ago by LIN
Superb historical fiction. One of the best of this genre I've ever read. Couldn't put it down! A very worthy read indeed!Published 2 months ago by lynn marsden