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The Handfasted Wife
The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy 1
`Moving, and vastly informative, a real page turner of a historical novel.' Fay Weldon
The Handfasted Wife is the story of the Norman Conquest from the perspective of Edith (Elditha) Swanneck, Harold's common-law wife. She is set aside for a political marriage when Harold becomes king in 1066. Determined to protect her children's destinies and control her economic future, she is taken to William's camp when her estate is sacked on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. She later identifies Harold's body on the battlefield and her youngest son becomes a Norman hostage.
Elditha avoids an arranged marriage with a Breton knight by which her son might or might not be given into his care. She makes her own choice and sets out through strife-torn England to seek help from her sons in Dublin. However, events again overtake her.
Harold's mother, Gytha, holds up in her city of Exeter with other aristocratic women, including Elditha's eldest daughter. The girl is at risk, drawing Elditha back to Exeter and resistance. Initially supported by Exeter's burghers the women withstand William's siege. However, after three horrific weeks they negotiate exile and the removal of their treasure. Elditha takes sanctuary in a convent where eventually she is reunited with her hostage son. This is an adventure story of love, loss, survival and reconciliation.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
An assured debut...
McGrath's research into the medieval quotidian is superb, and beautifully translated into a pastoral fiction in the tradition of Hardy.
Like Hardy, she manages, with deceptive charm, to convey a brutal message about women's lot.... much more than a good read. * Historical Novel Society * "This is an era and a family that I can't get enough of reading and the author surely did them justice... Carol McGrath has done impeccable research and is so very knowledgeable on these troubled times." -- Kathleen Ingram - Reading the Ages * http://myainbookblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-handfasted-wife-gem.html?spref=fb * "Carol McGrath has done a fabulous job of bring this important time in English history to life. Through her vivid and excellent writing she transports the reader back to the tumultuous clash of two very different societies and cultures, Saxon and Norman." - 5* -- Christopher Melby - Amazon Reviewer * http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A1VKZL2MPWH8KM/ref=cm_cr_dp_pdp *