Book Review: Naked A Novel of Lady Godiva

Naked Book Cover Naked
Eliza Redgold
Fiction
Macmillan
7/14/2015
320

We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don't know her true story. We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva's ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for 'peeping Tom') and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax. Naked is an original version of Godiva's tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.

 

Historical fiction is known for a lot of things, but being a quick read isn’t typically one of them. When I sat down to read Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva I did not think I would be closing the back cover a mere five hours later, but that is exactly what happened. From the second I started Eliza Redgold’s novel about the famous Lady Godiva I was was hooked, and I could not put it down.

Like most people who have ever heard her tale, I’ve always been fascinated by Lady Godiva (and not just because she did enough to get a chocolate brand named after her). The idea that a noble woman would ride through the streets of her town naked to save her people from unfair taxes always made me think that Godiva was a woman before her time. Yes, I am fully aware that many believe her famous ride never actually happened. I’ve done my research into her actual history and I’ve decided I just don’t care if it was true or not. Her story is a great one, and after reading Eliza Redgold’s novel I love the tale even more than I did before.

naked lady godiva book cover

Eliza paints such a vivid picture with her writing. Not a Tolkien “I’m going to explain every rock and piece of dirt” picture, but more of a Van Gogh picture. The details aren’t extra clear but as a whole the book is a beautiful work of art. She blends romance, history, and adventure so effortlessly that you really feel as if you are experiencing Godiva’s journey for yourself. The story never feels rushed and there aren’t any parts that you are rushing to get through. Eliza has an amazing gift when it comes to bringing history to life and she excels at doing just that with Naked. If you are a fan of historical fiction then Naked definitely needs to be added to your list!

Disclosure: We received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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