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Gildenford (Norman Quartet, #1)
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Gildenford (Norman Quartet #1)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Told from the perspective of a Saxon peasant, this is a story about the ruling family of England and the changing succession during the early 11th century prior to William the Conqueror taking the throne in 1066 from the Earl of Wessex.
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published 1977 by Charles Scribner's Sons
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This book is the first of a trilogy written by Anand about the Norman Conquest of England and begins in 1036 when Alfred Atheling and 600 of his party were betrayed and massacred at Gildenford by Harold Harefoot, one of the claimants for the English throne. But, did Harefoot have help in the plot to betray the Atheling and lead him to believe he would be safe entering England. His mother Emma Godwin, the Earl of Wessex. Brand the Woodcutter is innocently drawn into the plot and thus begins his y ...more
Sara Giacalone
I really enjoyed this first book in Anand's Norman trilogy. It tells the story of the years leading up to the Norman Conquest, beginning with the massacare at Gildenford. Anand tells a very probable story, one that is entertaining, fascinating and a joy to read. Her characters - historical and fictional ones - are believable and colorfully brought to life. I couldn't help really liking Godwin and his sons (up to a point). I also loved the way the author skillfully wove the stories of Leominster' ...more
Lady of the Lake
Nov 29, 2008 Lady of the Lake rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: HF fans,
I had to step away from this for a day or two because for some reason I couldn't "hear" the individual voices of the characters like I normally do when I read. But even though they still weren't clear it was no fault of the author as the book was written well. The history was accurate and the characters that were imagined stayed true to the time and place.
This is a great start to the trilogy and others have done great reviews so I won't repeat here. All I will say is that I would recommend this
This is a well written and very full account of the years leading up to the Norman Conquest. This is a period of English history about which I know little and so I thoroughly enjoyed this. The writing is very accessible and the plot does not drag despite being involved in court intrigue and politics.

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Book #1 in a 4-book series. Deals with the Saxons of England in the 40+ years BEFORE the invasion of Duke William of Normandy. Very well written and I enjoyed it immensely. The problem I ran into is not with the story or the author, but the fact that volume #3 (The Disputed Crown) is NOT available from either my local library or the main library in my central Ohio town. I can buy a used copy ( for about $30 but I want to read the book, not read and keep. I'm finding this to be more of a ...more
This is one of the rare historical novels that deals with pre-conquest Britain. Specifically, it concerns Godwin, Earl of Wessex, the murder of Alfred Atheling, and the resulting effects on Godwin's personal and political relationship with King Edward the Confessor (Alfred's brother). The viewpoint is mostly that of Brand a (fictional) minor member of Godwin's household. Anand really breathes life into these remote historical events - the characters are complex, there's plenty of historical deta ...more
Apr 28, 2013 Lalla added it
This book is the first of a three part series by the author that tells the story of the early monarchies of England. The time is the 1000's and the author has created a fast moving story of a power struggle between a strong family and the royal family that ruled at this time. She manages to make this historical period come alive for the reader. I found the descriptions of how trade and government were created as well as the characters that were not royal, but helped make the story more personal. ...more
Patricia Bracewell
I found this a fascinating book -- dealing as it does with many of the characters in my own novel, but at a much later date than my own will cover. Valerie Anand and I do not see eye to eye on the Godwins, but I could get around that, I think (I hope I am being honest here) if the main character was more compelling. He does change in the story, but he is not an actor. He is fortune's fool, tossed like flotsam on the tide of events. I think that is the major flaw of the book.

Anand's viewpoint jum
Nov 02, 2008 Bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Andrea, Kenzie, anyone who likes a well-written, non-romance historical novel
Recommended to Bonnie by: No one - just browsing the library shelves
I really liked this book for a number of reasons:
Very well written with complex characters
Showed reasons why William the Conqueror felt he had a right to the English throne but also why the English people felt they didn't want him for a ruler
Showed the consequences of an act of treachery.
This was excellent. Prior to reading this book I misunderstood who the Norman conquerors were. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. Anand really made the characters and the times in which they lived, come alive.
A slow-moving, meaty, and yet slightly unsatisfying read. However, I enjoyed the history and was curious how it would play out. I would give it 2.5 stars.
Wonderful explanation of the conflict between Edward the Confessor and the Godwins. How did I miss this series? Excellent for fans of historical fiction.
Julia Holloway
Wonderful book! I can't wait to read the next in the series. I can't believe I hadn't read anything by Valerie Anand before. Terrific writer.
I read this years ago and liked it a lot.
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Born in London, Valerie Anand knew at the age of six that she wanted to be an author. At the age of fifteen, she saw MGM’s film Ivanhoe. She walked into the cinema knowing that she wanted to be a novelist and walked out of it knowing that historical novels were the kind she most wanted to write.

Over the course of her long and distinguished writing career, Valerie has written many works of histori
More about Valerie Anand...

Other Books in the Series

Norman Quartet (4 books)
  • The Norman Pretender (Norman Quartet, #2)
  • The Disputed Crown (Norman Quartet, #3)
  • King of the Wood (Norman Quartet, #4)
The House Of Lanyon (Exmoor Saga, #1) The House Of Allerbrook (Exmoor Saga, #2) The Proud Villeins (Bridges Over Time, #1) King of the Wood (Norman Quartet, #4) The Norman Pretender (Norman Quartet, #2)

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