Something Borrowed, Something Blue
This blog post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and unashamed romantic. Her new novel Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released by St Martin’s Press in July.
For a brief second I swore I caught sight of a woman standing by the window. I blinked. It must have been a trick of the light, yet longing overwhelmed me.
Unshed, I gulped the tears that threatened. “Oh Aine. I wish my parents were here.”
Would I have been marrying Leofric if they were? Or would I have been marrying Edmund?
“Your mother would have been proud.” Aine said, as if sensing my unspoken question. “You must be a peace weaver now. But remember, my lady, the threads of the marriage cloth are strong. Your vows will bind you to the Earl and he will be bound to you. You’ll have to take the joys and sorrows that come once you are wed.”
Joy and sorrow. I had witnessed both in my parents’ marriage.
“Lord Radulf and Lady Morwen - their love was tested, through trial and time,” Aine went on. “That’s the way marriage grows. It must grow through grief, it must grow through pain, and it must grow through anger.”
“Through anger?” This was unexpected advice. I grimaced. The way we had already begun, it seemed anger would certainly be part of a marriage to Leofric of Mercia.
Aine smiled. “You don’t think anger fiber of the marriage cloth? It’s one of the strongest strands. Don’t be afraid of its power.”
Standing up I reached for my belt, a thin leather plait to waist my long linen tunic, woven fine and embroidered around the yoke in patterns of green leaves and gold thread. A broad band of blue around the hem in honor of Our Lady. Made creamy with age, it had been my mother’s. Remade to fit me. Aine had tutted over it, wishing she had more time.
But it was beautiful.
Quote from NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva
“Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” goes the old wedding rhyme. Something I discovered while writing Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva is just how old this rhyme really is.
In Lady Godiva’s time, over a thousand years ago in the eleventh century, it was a Christian custom for brides to wear a band of blue on their wedding gowns. This was in honour and to invoke the protection of ‘Our Lady’ Mary, mother of Jesus, in prayer for a happy and blessed marriage.
Over time the bridal band of Mary’s blue became intertwined with the tradition of a bride wearing a blue ribbon garter. Legend has it that the motto of the knightly Order of the Garter was based upon words spoken by the fourteenth century King Edward III of England: ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ which means ‘Shame on him who sees evil in it’. Edward said these words when defending his own lady, Joan of Kent, from the laughter of the court when her blue ribbon garter slipped from her leg. Edward picked it up, tied it around his own leg, and the noble garter was henceforth the emblem of the most chivalrous and valiant knights who defended lady and love.
In Naked, Godiva is given a gift before her wedding by her husband-to-be, Lord Leofric of Mercia. She wears it as part of her wedding attire and it becomes a symbol of their marriage, after some passionate conflict.
To find out what Leofric gives Godiva and what it means, you’ll have to read on!
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
PRAISE"Redgold's variation on this enticing legend is often lyrical and offers a satisfying blend of history, lore, and romance." (Booklist)
"Breathes new life into the story of the woman who would stop at nothing to protect her land and people." (Romantic Times)
"NAKED delivers far more than the famous ride of Lady Godiva. It's a beautifully woven story of love, loyalty, and the determination of a young woman trying to protect her people and their way of life, no matter the price. Godiva is a wonderfully strong woman in an age of dangerous men, and in NAKED, she certainly meets her match!" (Amalia Carosella, author of HELEN OF SPARTA)
"A wonderful, romantic retelling of the Lady Godiva legend. There is the colorful Anglo-Saxon backdrop, warriors, battles, peacemaking, desire, revenge and love - everything a fan of medieval romance could desire - plus a strong-willed heroin. Written with a lyrical lilt to her prose, Redgold adds realism to the myth and love to the lusty tale, allowing readers a glimpse into what might have been." (RT Book Reviews)
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | ITUNES | INDIEBOUND | KOBO
ABOUT THE AUTHORELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia. For more information visit Eliza Redgold's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+.
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