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Moving- and vastly informative- a real page turner of a historical novel. Fay WeldonThe Handfasted Wife is the story of the Norman Conquest from the perspective of Edith (Elditha) Swanneck- Harolds common-law wife. She is set aside for a political marriage when Harold becomes king in 1066. Determined to protect her childrens destinies and control her economic future- she is taken to Williams camp when her estate is sacked on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. She later identifies Harolds 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.Harolds mother- Gytha- holds up in her city of Exeter with other aristocratic women- including Eldithas eldest daughter. The girl is at risk- drawing Elditha back to Exeter and resistance. Initially supported by Exeters burghers the women withstand Williams 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.... Please click here to ask a question
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