Cori Henderson's Reviews > Lady of Hay

Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
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's review
Jul 27, 2011

I was recommended this book by someone else, and I really was not a fan. From a feminist's point of view, this book is a horrific example of all that was wrong with romance fiction in the 80s. The protagonist, introduced as a strong, independent woman gets continually raped by pretty much everyone in the book, past and present. But it's ok right, because sometimes she kind of enjoys it?! The only difference between the heroes and the villains seemed to be that they both rape her continuously, but the hero was a bit guilty about it so he should be forgiven. The only real hero in the book, the only man who loved her and treated her with any respect at all, was painted as a pathetic effeminate character who was punished for not being as 'passionate' as the other 'men'. The book had some redeeming qualities; the hypnosis element was fascinating, as was the thoroughly researched historical background to the text. However, it was so difficult to overlook the horrendous characterisation and the dangerous messages throughout the novel.
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