Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Please welcome Eliza Redgold, author of NAKED: A NOVEL OF LADY GODIVA, to The Lit Bitch with a special guest post about dancing with horses! Don’t miss a chance to be entered in the giveaway listed at the bottom of this post!
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.
Dances with Horses
This blog post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and unashamed romantic. Her new novel Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released by St Martin’s Press on July 14 2015.
“What were your pleasures in the Middle Lands?”
“Riding. Dancing.” I laughed. “Sometimes both together.”
“I understand you’re an excellent horsewoman.”
“I have an excellent horse.”
“A horse that dances?”
“Ebur can do many tricks. She can prance and dance, but that wasn’t what I was thinking of. I can do a dance with a rope, or a horsewhip.”
He goggled. “You dance with a whip? I’ve seen dances with sticks and shields and even hobby-horses but never with a whip.”
From Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva
Horses ride across many a page in Naked. To imagine what Godiva’s famous ride might have been like, I carried out extensive research into the history of horses and horse-riding in England. I even learned to horse-ride!
In Naked, Godiva’s horse Ebur (Latin for ivory) is a much a character as some of the human variety. Some old paintings of Godiva depict her riding side-saddle, but in the 11th century she may well have ridden astride.
Horses were central to the Anglo-Saxon way of life. They also played a part in festivities. In my research I became intrigued by the hobby-horse. Before writing Naked I’d thought it merely a toy, a horse head on a stick and wheels. The original has an older and far more interesting history. Allow me to get on my hobby-horse for a moment.
“For O, for O, the hobby-horse is forgot,” lamented Shakespeare in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Dances and games with hobby-horses, puppets and costumes were once a central part of old English celebrations. As far back as pagan times they included grotesque and terrifying figures with huge mock horse-heads that danced and sang through the town. Some horse heads had moveable jaws and teeth of iron. Hobby-horse dances could be so wild and outrageous that in the sixteenth century the Puritans banned them. Yet the people of England so loved the hobby-horse that they refused to lose their traditional game. Thus the expression came about that to cherish an idea is to cling to one’s hobby-horse.
It was irresistible to include horse-themed dancing in Naked. Anglo-Saxon style hobby-horses are believed to have been included in dances at weddings and feasts, as well as playing a part in the general glee: verse-telling, mimes and riddles. But as you’ll discover in Naked, Godiva’s dance comes with a twist!
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“Redgold’s variation on this enticing legend is often lyrical and offers a satisfying blend of history, lore, and romance.” (Booklist)
“Breathes new life into the story of the woman who would stop at nothing to protect her land and people.” (Romantic Times)
“NAKED delivers far more than the famous ride of Lady Godiva. It’s a beautifully woven story of love, loyalty, and the determination of a young woman trying to protect her people and their way of life, no matter the price. Godiva is a wonderfully strong woman in an age of dangerous men, and in NAKED, she certainly meets her match!” (Amalia Carosella, author of HELEN OF SPARTA)
“A wonderful, romantic retelling of the Lady Godiva legend. There is the colorful Anglo-Saxon backdrop, warriors, battles, peacemaking, desire, revenge and love – everything a fan of medieval romance could desire – plus a strong-willed heroin. Written with a lyrical lilt to her prose, Redgold adds realism to the myth and love to the lusty tale, allowing readers a glimpse into what might have been.” (RT Book Reviews)
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ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.
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To enter to win a copy of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva or a $50 Amazon Gift Card, please enter via the GLEAM form below. Three winners will be chosen.
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