Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lady of Hay” as Want to Read:
Lady of Hay
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lady of Hay

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  5,306 Ratings  ·  438 Reviews
With a story as mesmerizing as it is chilling, Lady of Hay explores how Jo, a journalist investigating hypnotic regression, plunges into the life of Matilda, Lady of Hay—who lived eight hundred years earlier. As she learns of Matilda’s unhappy marriage, her troubled love for Richard de Clare, and the brutal treatment she received from King John, it seems that Jo’s past and ...more
ebook, 592 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 1986)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lady of Hay, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lady of Hay

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 06, 2012 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: bought retail. Full price. Seriously, sometimes I do that just for laughs.

I read this book back in 1985 when it came out. I was 25. I cannot imagine this. I thought this book was AMAZING back then. I was hoping to recapture the moment...


You can never go back.

Plot: beautiful, talented journalist Jo (STRIKE ONE) appears to have no other purpose than to be hypnotized back into a previous life. Because absolutely EVERYONE she meets can do this. Really? I could count the nu
Mar 08, 2011 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Meh, don't bother. This was such a long book. It's basically a history lesson, turned into a story, wrapped in alcohol, sex and abuse. I didn't believe the characters at all. They kept telling you that Jo is a hard hitting strong person, but in EVERY instance she is completely helpless, submissive, needy and gets walked all over. There are no consequences for any of the bad things anyone does. All of her friends are living the most ridiculously scandalous lives.
But somehow the writing did keep
Aug 20, 2008 Misfit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had all been in Matilda's past and skipped the stuff in the present time. The idea of regression was interesting, but it got to be a bit much after a while. I mean, how many people do you know that are experienced hypnotists? And Jo was hypnotized by was it four or five different people? That did become a bit of a stretch towards the end of the book. (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Roselani rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
The first time i read this i was blown away. Each chapter revealing more and more to me. The characters being swept up in this irrealistic plot, yet believably, and it was breathtaking. The female lead was bravely trusting her heart in explosive situations. The writing and settings swept me along. Revelation after revelation kept me turning the pages. years ago I would have given this a five.
Just read it for the second time and i found it to be the most offensive, misogynistic literature i have
Hmmm. Interesting how most people really loved this book. Because I am a lover of historical fiction, Lady of Hay has been on my reading list for some time. I recalled it being a big bestseller back in the 80s when it was first published. I'm giving it 3 stars for potential, but it's really a 2-star. At first I thought perhaps I don't like time travel since I hated The Time Traveler's Wife, but I love Diana Gabaldon's books and it wasn't the time travel in Lady of Hay I disliked. It was just too ...more
This book was a bit of a disappointment to me. Time travel books are generally a favorite treat of mine and although this book is not technically about time travel, it is close enough to be included in that genre for book lists on Goodreads, where I first heard of it. I found the book’s reliance and description of hypnotism to be unrealistic bordering on cheesy. I also was bothered by the undertones of violence against women, as mentioned by at least one other reviewer. This book seemed to take ...more
This book is about Jo Clifford, a C20th journalist, who is regressed under hypnosis and finds she has lived before in the C12th, as Matilda, Lady of Hay. Matilda died a terrible death at the hands of King John. She also suffered the abuse of her husband William de Braose and had an illicit love affair with a knight, Richard de Clare.

The pain and suffering of Matilda's life threaten to take over Jo's, as she finds herself spontaneously regressing and reliving Matilda's life. The plot is complica
Oct 01, 2011 liirogue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really struggled to read this. Like many others, I found the historical story, that of Matilda, much more interesting than the current-day events. But the current-day storyline is what really ruined it for me. All of the characters were completely unlikable and downright psychotic.

Nike brutally rapes and repeatedly attacks Jo, but he claims to love her. Jo conveniently moves past all that and they end up happily ever after.

Why was Sam completely off his rocker? No good explanation is ever give
Jan 10, 2012 Jen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me seriously angry. I don't understand how we are suppossed to forgive the love interest's abuse of the heroine (I would have more to say but there would be spoilers). The characters spiraled out of control and the story went from somewhat beleivable to totally whack (if you will forgive the phrase). The parts that were written about the past were extremely interesting, but how it related to the present and the control of the past over the present were ridiculous.
I found this to be a very hard book to put down, even though there were things i didn't like about it. I just had to keep reading to find out how it would all end. I had one big problem with it, however. It really bothered me that Prince John was supposedly in love with Matilda. Who needs love like that? That was more about wanting something he couldn't have, lust and ownership, than love. If he had loved her he would not have raped her, so brutally. There was no love in that, only rage. I had t ...more
Sep 27, 2011 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to talk about my favorite book, LADY OF HAY, by Barbara Erskine. I don't know if you have read it, and if you haven't, you need to. (spoiler alert!) It is the story of a woman who discovers that she has memories of a previous life. I won't go too far into it, since I hope you will read it, but let's just say that it's a great story. It is based upon the life of a real person, and that person is an ancestor of Barbara Erskine.

I understand that Barbara has a college degree in medieval hist
Jun 29, 2012 Sonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2014 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No-one. Ever.
Recommended to Catherine by: Borrowed from a friend.
I usually love historical fiction, and time travel books have always been favourites of mine.
This book... I don't know if the subject matter is horrendously dated because it was written in the 80s, but it was one of the most hideously offensive, misogynistic books I've ever had the misfortune to read.

The lead character (who's such a twit, I could scream) allows one of her love interests to beat, abuse, and rape her with zero consequences whatsoever, and she actually wants to be with him after th
Feb 19, 2016 Eadie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
This was a fascinating story which switched from the present day to the 12th century. Barbara Erskine's writing is easy to read and brings history to life. The characters were very believable and their emotions were transferred to the reader. The plot was intriguing and allowed for a page-turner which was unputdownable until the last page. I look forward to reading another of Erskine's books and recommend this one to those who love historical fiction mixed with adventure and romance.
Adrie Ashford
Erskine has a great premise, but her characters utterly bludgeon it to death, both in this century and 800 years ago. The female lead is a paper doll that the male characters endlessly manipulate, and secondary characters jump into the action with introduction or precedence. I have no idea if the book redeems itself, because I got two-thirds of the way through before resorting to throwing it against the wall and not finishing. All in all, this is a huge disappointment of a time travel novel.
Jul 03, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lady of Hay is a book I have wanted to read for a long time and with The Sleepers Castle now out I was prompted to do so.
This is a tomb of a book at over 760 pages so quite daunting in size.
Our main character Joanna is a confident sassy journalist who takes part in a University study in to past life regression and learns that in the past she was Matilda of Hay.
As the regression takes place her unhappy abusive marriage to William Da Braose is relived, her illicit passionate love for the Knight R
Jan 04, 2013 Renae rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I simply do not understand how this book averages more than 4 stars. It's fairly terrible. The characters are shallow and if one reader could identify with them, I'd want to punch that person in the face. The plot takes FOREVER to develop -- seems as though about halfway through the book the author finally makes some revelation about what she's going to write about. The characters are in the upper echelon of London society, all have infatuations with each other (really?), are all ultra attractiv ...more
Jun 12, 2014 Roni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I loved the premise of this book! I was completely pulled into the story in the beginning, by the time I was half way through, I had a few major issues with it. First, it is WAY too long. I loved the story of Matilda and would happily have read a complete book about her. Jo was supposedly a strong independent woman but frankly I found her to be annoying. Next, every other paragraph someone was grabbing the Scotch bottle - really? Couldn't the author have found an alternative now and then? ...more
Vanessa Wester
I have not rated a book this low in a long time and there is a good reason for this. Some of you may not agree, but as a reader I am entitled to my opinion.

Basically, I just didn't connect with any of the characters or their situations.

It was way too long, the constant present-past flashbacks gave me whiplash, and the brutality of the men was harsh and cold. The build-up led you believe more would happen, but ended with a disappointing flat finale!

It took me 12-13 hours to read (thank you kindl
Caroline Pradier
Dec 09, 2016 Caroline Pradier rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Such a waste of my time on this patronising, mysoginistic and nonsensical book.
Dont bother
Aug 12, 2012 Esmanur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
268. sayfa

Durum kötü kız kafayı yedi. Ama kitap süper gidiyor..... :D :D :D


Kitap bitti.
Okunmaya değer. Orijinal bir konu ve güzel bir anlatım.

belki çevirisinden kaynaklınıyo belki benden ama ikimizden birinde problem var.. kitapa bütünleşmekte biraz zorluk yaşadım ama konu harika :) umarım en kısa zamanda birbirimiz içinde kayboluruz :) bu enfes şeyin arakadaşlığından mahrum kalmak istemiyorum :)"

264. sayfa

kitapla bir bütün oldum sanırım.. zira okurken karakterlere ufaktan ufanktan sövmeye başladığıma göre evet evet kesinlikle kitapla bütünleştik biz :) mutluyum :) neyse konuya dönecek olursak açlışı papucumun piskoloğu baş b
Mar 25, 2013 Kayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yurtsuz Kralın Aşkı = ŞAHESERRRRRR

Öncelikle bu kitap kesinlikle AŞK ROMANI değil ! Tamam içinde aşk yer alıyor ama bu yine de kitabı aşk romanı yapmıyor bence :)

Kitaba gelince, konu iki farklı ana karakter üzerinde yoğunlaşıyor. Biri günümüde yaşayan Joanne, dğeri 1100'lerde yani Kral John zamanında yaşayan Matilda.

Joanne bir gazeteci ve hipnoz sayesinde Matilda ile tanışıyor. Onun 35 yıllık yaşantısını neredeyse an be an yaşıyor.

Matilda yaşadığı döneme göre çok güçlü bir kadın. Genç yaşında bab
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K.A. Denver
Mar 05, 2017 K.A. Denver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeannie B.
Aug 06, 2012 Jeannie B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, I stayed up far too late into the night reading, and this book is to blame! Lady of Hay is a gripping account of two women struggling to break free of political and personal constraints in both the 12th and 20th centuries. The main character, Jo Clifford, is a journalist who recalls life in 12th century Wales under hypnotic regression. The question she and the reader must confront is: does Jo indeed remember being the Lady of Hay, or are there other forces at work in these resurfacin ...more
Apr 15, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lady of Hay. Barbara Erskine. 1986. Dell. 751 pages. ISBN 0440200059.

If you're in the mood for an epic drama involving hypnosis and past-life regression during modern times, faced against historical Welsh fiction, then Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay is definitely the book to read. What an extraordinary novel!

Lady of Hay is the story of Jo Clifford, a head-strong journalist who falls prey to being an easy subject for past-life regression within hypnosis, or even reincarnation. When Jo is under hyp
Jul 08, 2014 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the quintessential time slip book for those who like the genre. I read it first back in the nineteen eighties – not long after it was first published and was hooked from the first page and recommended it to countless other readers. I have only recently re-read it having just read the latest novel by Barbara Erskine – ‘The Darkest Hour’. ‘Lady of Hay’ is every bit as good as I’d remembered it to be and I can see why it started my fascination with time slip stories.

Jo Clifford is regressed
Diana Dart
Jan 10, 2013 Diana Dart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a huge fan of historical novels and all things British, this famous Erskine story was a must read. I'm lamenting that it took so long to get at it, but now that I've devoured it in a few days, my reader's mind will never be the same. With intense characters, an almost mind-boggling plot and rich historical detail, I quite literally could not put this down. Thanks to the Kindle edition on my iPhone, I didn't have to ;)

Erskine keeps you guessing, cheering and even raging at the extensive cast o
From my book review blog Rundpinne
I have been struggling with my review of Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine and putting it off hoping my feelings toward the book would change with time, they have not. I had truly wanted to adore Lady of Hay and quite unfortunately, I did not care for the book. There, I said it. I enjoyed the idea of the story, especially the descriptions of life in the twelfth century. Erskine did an excellent job at creating two realistic and vividly described centuries and cre
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Mistress' House
  • Legacy
  • Never a Bride
  • A Cottage by the Sea
  • The Wild Hunt (Ravenstow Trilogy #1)
  • Through a Dark Mist (Robin Hood, #1)
  • I Dream of Genies (Bottled Magic, #1)
  • The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #1)
  • Silken Threads (Wexford Family, #1; Lords of Conquest, #1)
  • Green Darkness
  • Roselynde (The Roselynde Chronicles, #1)
  • Loki's Daughters
  • Tides Of Love (Zebra Historical Romance)
  • The Oak Apple (Morland Dynasty, #4)
  • Vanquished (The Roxbury Trilogy, #1)
  • Born of the Sun (Dark Ages of Britain, #2)
An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of six bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus two collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty different languages. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester, and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.
More about Barbara Erskine...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“cheek,” 0 likes
“city. He did not bother to listen to the girl’s words. Her soft English voice sounded tired and blurred under hypnosis and he would have to listen again and again to the tape anyway as Cohen transcribed it and tried to fathom where her comments, if there were any, came from. ‘And now, Joanna,’ the Professor’s voice rose slightly as he shifted on the high stool to make himself more comfortable. ‘We’ll go back again, if you please, back before the darkness, back before the dreams, back to when you were on this earth before.’ He” 0 likes
More quotes…