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- Lady of Hay: An enduring classic – gripping, atmospheric and utterly compelling
I also sincerely doubt that anyone who is terrified of someone could allow that individual to repeatedly hypnotize her involuntarily - the last time just by saying a sentence or two over the phone. Again, when she heard the villain's voice - why did she not just hang up? Finally - and these are small points - having read a LOT about this period in history and some of the main players, I find it extremely unlikely that King John ever had cause to question the loyalty of William Marshall, as he briefly does when pursuing Matilda in Ireland. William served John after having served all of his older brothers and his father as well if memory serves and was granted the regency when John died with no heir, and nearly a millennium later, William is still known for his integrity.
Of course, John may have questioned the loyalty of those around him with or without just cause - because he was not a likable guy to say the least. Also, in the Epilogue, the author gives two reasons as to why William De Braose may have fallen from King John's good graces, but fails to site one of the main reasons which I had heard proposed - that William was a witness to the murder of John's nephew Prince Arthur. It managed to hold my interest in spite of the literary and historical meandering that takes place in the latter part of the book.
I enjoyed the story in general, the author's style, and the history portrayed in the book. The descriptions of places and scenery in particular were very evocative. A number of reviewers commented on the fact that perhaps the main character's behavior she repeatedly returns to someone who is abusing her can be excused because of the time period in which the book was written.
That one puzzled me. In spite of the fact that the "no means no" mentality was not apparent in the latter part of the last century as it is today, it is pretty common knowledge that people do return to their abusers, so the idea that this story could not take place with a "modern, liberated woman" was sort of preposterous.
I will definitely read more books by this author, but I may pay closer attention to the reviews before I choose. In s England, we meet year-old Jo Clifford, who has an amazing ability as a subject in a regression hypnosis, when she relives the last, tortured moments of a 13th-century Norman-French woman, whose husband held a great deal of power in the Welsh Marches during the reign of Henry II , and his sons Richard the Lionheart and King John.
The modern story then jumps 15 years, and we meet year-old Jo Clifford, successful journalist, and as hard-headed as you expect a modern woman to be. She is given an assignment to investigate regression hypnosis, which is a technique that claims to access a person's memory of a past life. Jo initially pooh-poohs the idea, until she becomes a subject herself.
At that point, the medieval story takes off. I am not alone in finding the medieval story more compelling, primarily because the stakes are so high, giving Ms. Erskine opportunities for building a spine of tension to hold up the story arc. The modern part of the story was not interesting. The relationship between Jo Clifford and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Nick went round, and around, and around, and while true to life, this spinning of wheels meant that many opportunities for tension were lost.
Nick's brother Sam is cast as the mad scientist, and as a former scientist myself, I wish that Ms. Erskine had eschewed the cliches and dug deeper to have formed a more interesting character.
Sam's motivation is not clear, except that he seems to have gone quite mad for no apparent reason. My question was how did we get from the concerned young man we glimpsed in , to the out-of-control sadist in ? No satisfactory answer is given.
The modern story deserves 3 stars, the medieval story deserves 5 stars, so I am giving this novel 4 stars. See all reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 1 month ago. No other book has made me cry.
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Lady of Hay: An enduring classic – gripping, atmospheric and utterly compelling
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About the Book Her iconic debut novel, Lady of Hay, brings Barbara Erskine's eerie, atmospheric and utterly compelling story to a new generation. A story spanning centuries. A long awaited revenge. Biography A historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of many bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus three collections of short stories.
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