From the logo of a popular chocolate brand to the origin of the expression “peeping Tom,” the legend of Lady Godiva has influences throughout modern culture. So the story goes, Godiva begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to life a high tax on her starving people. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. Lady Godiva took her husband at his word and famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. Her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.
Throughout history, Lord Leofric is always portrayed as the villain, but in NAKED, Eliza Redgold boldly reimagines this famous legend as a true love story. She says, “History has been hard on Lord Leofric. In most of the Godiva stories, Leofric of Mercia is definitely the villain of the piece, ready to impose heavy taxes and to ignobly allow his wife to carry out her daring ride. Yet by the end of his life, historical documents reveal Lord Leofric was a changed man. My explanation: he fell in love… I became determined to clear Leofric’s name.”
In NAKED, Lady Godiva grows up living the easy life of a noble woman, learning from her parents the importance of staying close to her people. Her family’s rule is known in Coventry as being kind and generous, her mother and father even adopt a homeless boy named Edmund and raise him as one of their own. Now Godiva is grown up and on her own, happily preparing to marry Edmund as her parents wish. But when her parents are killed, Godiva’s life veers off course. She must step up to keep Coventry safe and must consider marrying Lord Leofric for his lands and manpower. Despite Leofric’s actions and reputation, Godiva cannot deny her attraction and is pulled into a web of conflicting loyalties.
About the author: The pseudonym ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of the author’s given name, Dr. Elizabeth Reid Boyd. As both an academic in gender studies and a novelist who has written romances, she is passionate about women’s writing in every genre being respected. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.
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