Godiva grew up loving her land, Coventry, raised by her parents to protect the people of the land. But when her parents are slaughtered by treacherous Danes, Godiva must look to an outsider to help protect the people she watches over, no matter what the cost. Now wed to Lord Leofric of Mercia, she must decide if her people’s needs outweigh the needs of her heart.
Before picking up this book, I was familiar with the name Lady Godiva as a woman in history who rode through her town naked to lower taxes, but nothing more. “Naked” by Eliza Redgold brought alive the story and time period, weaving fiction and history together. While I found it hard to believe that Godiva would be raised with the skills of a warrior, it didn’t keep the story from being enjoyable. I especially appreciated having lines of Tennyson’s poem serving as chapter headings, it added an extra fillip of historical appreciation to the book. I would be interested in reading more works by Eliza Redgold, seeing her take on other historical tales.
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.