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| This was the first book written by Helen Hollick
that I've read. It certainly will not be my last!
Ms. Hollick is a truly magnificent author! She brings to life all of the characters of that turbulent time in a way that's absolutely spellbinding. And, she writes us a very telling account of Harold Godwinesson, his lifelong love for his "hand-fast" wife Edith Swannhaels and their children. She tells us in vivid terms of the self centered egotism and lust for power of Harold's sister Edith (Queen by marriage to Edward) and brother Tostig.
Her description of Edward (like Helen, I refuse to add the title "the Confessor" to his name seeing as how that term was coined upon his politically inspired canonization in 1161, long after his reign and death) is SPOT ON, in my opinion. A weak man and king, much like his father Aethelred who was known as "the Unready", Edward had no sense of kingship. He actually would've been happier to have been a monk, Abbot, or Bishop. Ms. Hollick also paints a vivid portrait of William the Bastard of Normandy, his ruthless ambition, cruelty, avarice, and desire to obtain the throne of England at whatever cost.
This outstanding work gives us a very good insight into the greed, treachery, and overweening ambition that all too often drives human beings, both then, at this crucial milestone in England's history and still present today. But the main thing is that Helen Hollick is able to bring to vivid life the personages and times of the period 1043-1066.
This book is truly a MUST READ for those who would better understand the history of England. It's a definite page turner, I could NOT put it down and found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning until my eyes were so strained I could no longer focus on the words. Would that I could give this book TEN stars, I would certainly award them to this masterpiece and to Helen Hollick, a truly magnificent writer! I highly recommend this work and the other works that Ms. Hollick has produced.
She is right up there in the same league with Sharon Penman, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Morgan Llywlyn as a great writer who can bring history to life! And, as a lifelong reader and student of history, I dearly love good historical novels that stick to the historical facts and bring the characters to vivid life. Ms. Hollick does this as well as any writer I've ever read! Thank you Helen, please give us more!