Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold

Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (294 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

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.

Though historical romance is not my usual genre, I was very interested in reading this book. We know the legend of Lady Godiva, now I got to meet the woman and see the author’s interpretation of the story behind her ride. I’m glad I did.

First off, be warned that the author’s writing style might not resonate for everyone. She uses fragments, and some choppy sentences, but I didn’t find it intrusive. I zipped through the pages, interested in the world she built. I confess that I’m not well-versed in many of the historical references or mores of the times, so can’t comment on whether they are correct, but I completely enjoyed seeing the way life was then.

Godiva is strong and loving. She comes from a family who adores her and is destroyed when her parents are killed. Yes, she’s young and a bit naïve at times, but she does what she needs to do in order to care for her people. She’s a ruler and a woman to be admired.

We readers aren’t sure whether to root for her relationship with Leofric, whom she marries from necessity, especially when we know he is the one who will eventually cause her to shame herself and ride naked through the town. Is he a good man or an evil one? Should she have married her childhood friend, Edmund, instead?

I admired the author’s story telling prowess and imagination, along with the little historical tidbits she sprinkled in here and there; the day-to-day routines, the food, the herbs. The secondary characters, too, were well drawn, which isn’t always easy to do in a book written in first person.

While, at its heart this is a romance, it’s not a typical one, and those going in expecting that might be disappointed. It’s a dramatic retelling of a historical event that includes romance, but also so much more. I enjoyed this book, and am glad I had the chance to read it.


  1. If you could take only three items with you to a deserted island, what would they be?

  2. Thanks for this lovely review! I am glad you enjoyed NAKED.

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