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.
Hi Eliza! Welcome to Let Them Read Books!
What inspired you to write a novel about Lady Godiva?
I visited Coventry at Christmas time in 2011. The Christmas lights were up and it was beautiful. I made the visit to look for Lady Godiva as I'd started research for the book. In Coventry, I found her - Godiva's image was everywhere I turned.
I especially loved the Godiva trail where she took her ride. It's wonderful for fans to follow. The two cathedrals are also inspiring - the old and the new side by side - but I particularly experienced a strange feeling near the place where Godiva and Leofric are believed to be buried. I hadn't known it existed. Their spirits are definitely still in the air.
What kind of research did you do to piece her story together?
Lady Godiva (or Godiva chocolates!) must have been in the back of my mind when I was doing some research on the word lady in my academic life. Over time, the word has had a bad rap, but it made a 21st century comeback. With my academic hat on, as Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd, I wrote an academic journal article about the word lady making a comeback, why the lady’s back and what her future may be. Following the lady then led me in all kinds of wonderful directions. The legend of Lady Godiva grabbed me and didn’t let go until I had written a version of Godiva’s story.
What was the most rewarding aspect of writing this novel?
Godiva was the first superhero. Forget Superman’s cape, Batman’s hood or Wonder Woman’s leotard. Godiva had a living cape of amazing hair to save her people! I was so inspired by the heroine of my story and the most rewarding aspect has been hearing from readers who find her an inspiration too. When someone tells me Godiva is their new heroine, it makes my day.
Can you tell us a bit about your new Lady of Legend series?
Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva is the first in an historical fiction series that brings back the story of a ‘Legendary Lady’ to tell it from her point of view and twist her tale.
‘Lost voices. Lost lore. Lost love.’ That’s a clue to the next Lady of Legend.
*If you think you know who it is, contact me on social media or via my website and if you get it right, I’ll send you a gift copy when it comes out! (links below)*
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | ITUNES | INDIEBOUND | KOBO
About the Author
ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. 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. 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
For more information visit Eliza Redgold’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+.