Godiva tells the story of Lady Godiva, Countess of Mercia. Godiva is happily married to Leofric, Count of Mercia, but is a landowner in her own right. Not only is Godiva a countess, happily married, and rich, but she is also generous and gorgeous.The plot starts when Godiva's only son, Henry is taken captive by King Edward the Confessor to ensure his step brother's good behavior. Godiva and Leofric depart to rescue their sons. They arrive to find one son accused of treason and one accused of sodomite relations.Henry, accused of sodomy, is to take a monk's vows, while his brother, accused of treason is released and sent to the Welsh border by his father. Godiva believes she has accomplished all she can and is anxious to leave the attentions of a sadistic, religious virgin king. Leofric sends her back to Coventry, in the company of his huntsman, Bret. Bret soon starts to seduce Godiva, and they begin a love affair while Leofric ties up loose ends with the king and tries to decide if he wants to rebel against the king. When Leofric returns to his wife's side at Coventry, he is enraged. Godiva and Leofric fight fiercely, and Leofric leaves to raise an army. Godiva soon learns that King Edward has plans to heal her sick soul. He demands heregeld or taxes. When Godiva tells him the poor town of Coventry is too poor for such taxes, he gives her a choice between divorce or a special penance of riding naked through Coventry. Unable to abandon her husband, Godiva chooses the later. She then begins to prepare herself, her town and her people for her humiliating penance. After her ordeal, her people are angry; angry at her, angry at Leofric, angry at the King. Godiva herself plunges into darkness and may never run Coventry again, scaring the people. What will become of Godiva, her marriage and Coventry?
On first impressions, this cover is one of the most gorgeous covers ever. And the idea of Godiva is almost too much for me! In a good way!
I liked the book, It was well written and gave me a good insight into life at a village in the medieval times. The plot was well written. Even though I knew the story of Godiva, I still wondered how we (Godiva and I) would get there. I am a little bit disappointed in Godiva's character. I wished that she would have had more attitude in her. She was obviously a capable person. She owned land in her own right, and she made her own decisions. Her affair was uncharacteristic for someone so devoted to her husband. But I can see why the affair was necessary for the plot. I also, like the villagers, wish she would have said no. But, once again, Jones provides an answer for that. "For me to win, I must keep playing."
All in all, it was a great book. I loved learning about Godiva and her legend.