In this beautifully crafted tale, Harold Godwinesson, the last Saxon King of England, is a respected, quick-witted man both vulnerable and strong, honorable and loving-and yet, in the end, only human. After the political turmoil and battles leading up to 1066, we all know William the Conquerer takes England. But Helen Hollick will have readers at the edge of their seats, hoping that just this once, for Harold, the story will have a different ending.
Another well-written tale by Hollick. In this one we follow the last 30 years before 1066, and see the fall of the last English King.
Harold Godwinesson is the son of Earl Godwin of Wessex. In his youth he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Edyth and takes her as his handfast wife. Because he knows that in the future he must make a alliance and get a wife in a Christian ceremony. We follow his life as he becomes Earl of East Anglia, as his sister Edith marries Edward (the confessor), as he fights with his brother Swegn, as they all has to go into exile. As the Earls grumble about what a bad king Edward is, as they try to subdue the Welsh, more fighting within the family, worrying about who the next king will be, and at last, Hastings.
That might seem like a lot but the book does chronicle 30 years, and they were not easy years. The book sometimes follows different people, and one of these is a certain young Duke of Normandy. A bloodthirsty man who later wants England. I liked that there were different POVs now and again, because even if we mostly follow Harold, we also get to see what other things. William, Edward, Queen Edith, and a few more. A hint what they might have thought about events taking place.
The book does what it sets out to do. It tells about these last years of Anglo-Saxon rule and what a man Harold might have been. And he is a good man who truly loves his hand-fasted wife (concubine). The bad guy in this tale is Duke William. As for King Edward, well him I mostly feel sorry for because he just is so useless.
A good historical novel, long yes, but it explained things nicely and she had her own spin on things. I liked this tale about how it all might have happened, and at last, this is fiction, we can never know the whole truth as Hollick says at the end.
At the end I went nooo! Why? Because I did not want to see it happened, that which had to happen in 1066. We all know who won.
Reason for reading:
I like this time in history
Not for me
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published: March 1st 2011
(first published 2001)
Source: For review
Source: For review