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3.25  ·  Rating details ·  302 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Everyone knows the legend of Lady Godiva—the woman who (in)famously rode naked on horseback through Coventry to relieve her people from unfair taxation. But why would a lady of the court take it all off and risk everything, including husband, home, and well-being?

In this richly imagined retelling of an oft-told ancient tale, Nicole Galland gives us Lady Godiva in all her,
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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We all know that tales of Lady Godiva- an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.

Daniel Donoghue, a Professor of English at Harvard University, has quoted remarkably about Lady Godiva:
“Would anyone remember the story of Godiva if she lowered Coventry's taxes without taking her clothes off?”

It's true, maybe, we won't even remember her good deeds, since with a
Jun 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published 7/4 on my blog at

When I started this review, I actually had a higher rating for this book. Then I realized that I can't really think of anything positive to say about this book. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but this book fed into nearly all of my pet-peeves and, frankly, just irritated me.

I have a degree in Medieval History and I'm familiar with Lady Godiva, which is why I was looking forward to reading this book. Lady Godiva was a real person and w
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
I chose to DNF at 23% after the following infuriating quotes pushed me over the "to finish or not to finish" edge:

"It is every man's nature to take advantage of a woman's frailty. But most of us are able to resist the impulse when required."


"Barren women have no [sexual] appetites."

To those I say:

I utterly reject that all women are inherently frail and up for ravishment, as well as that "all men are just animals who have no brains aside from SEX. How flattering." (That quote is from the love
Tara Chevrestt
Blown away by this book. I was expecting a historical fiction about a woman who to repeal a tax, rode a horse naked through a town a very long time ago. I got that, but I also got an incredibly brave heroine, a nun with a scandal, glimpses into the early days of "Christianity" taking over "paganism" and becoming political and corrupt and fantastic bursts of humor.

At first, I was put off by the heroine. She uses her eyelashes and sexual promises she has no intention of delivering to get her way.
May 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miscellaneous

No thank you.

Godiva spends the whole book preening over how clever and smart and better than everyone she is and expects us lowly readers to just fall at her feet.

On the whole, the book has the whiff of mediocre fanfiction, the type where all conflicts are just too easily solved, all bad guys are just too evil and too stupid, and all good guys are just too nauseating for words.
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Lady Godiva. Wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, the only woman to remain a major landholder in the years following the Conquest, made famous for the most erotic ride never made.

That's right folks, well-known as the legend is, most scholars agree the ride itself never happened. Why you ask? Well, the first verified record of the countess' exhibitionism was put down in the 13th century, which sounds great until you realize Godiv
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
I'm guessing there are many people out there who knew very little about Lady Godiva than her infamous naked ride like myself. This legendary tale was pretty much the only thing that I knew about Godiva before reading this book. Galland shows us that there is so much more to this lady than just that juicy tale.

I love books that take a story or legend that many know so little about and turn it into a full length book. On top of reading a great story, you get to learn a little something as well. "G
Andrea Guy
There are some books you simply can't help but love, and for me, Godiva was one of them. The cover is what drew me to the book. It is simply stunning, but it is Nicole's writing that just made me fall in love.

Lady Godiva is a cheeky thing. Using her beauty and ability to flirt to help her husband's cause. She really came across as a modern forward thinking woman in medieval times.

What stood out is how important Godiva was to her husband. Her character was so strong and she reminded me a bit of J
Godiva by Nicole Galland published in 2013, the year of my TBO(tremendous book over-buying) sat on my shelf for a good time because shortly after purchase, a friend rated it a 1 star. I've read some fairly heavy books of late and it seemed like an opportune time to read something a bit lighter.

I made a conscious decision to ignore some of the anachronistic aspects of it which everyone seems to notice. I also ignored my feminist instincts to automatically dislike the manipulatively flirtatious wo
Ah, It was an okay, quick read for a lazy afternoon, but I really thought it was too heavy on the romance and very contrived romance, at that.
It was still light-hearted and I didn't hate it.
Nancy W.
A good story. It just took to long to get through it.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It may just be my own bias, but I cannot enjoy books where I spend more time figuring out how to pronounce names than I do reading. I found the character Lady Godiva superficial at best.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quick mindless read. Too much contemporary dialogue to be "good" historical fiction.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the intrigue and power that was exhibited through themes of love and morality, which sometimes clash. Godiva was portrayed as a witty and unconventional woman of her time. It was a shocking difference from the Godiva I imagined from the legends. The political wars between church and the various kingdoms, and individuals, gave the world a taste of life in 11th century England. This story pushed me to look into the actual life of Godiva, so little is known of her unfortunately. Her life rema ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicole Galland

Nicole Galland, author of The Fool’s Tale, turns her clever pen toward re-imagining the famous legend of Lady Godiva in this expertly crafted historical novel set in Anglo-Saxon England.

A 12th-century noblewoman, Lady Godiva is infamous for riding naked through Coventry to relieve her people of her husband’s unfair and oppressive taxation. Leofric, Earl of Mercia, said he would ease the tax burden if she would ride through the streets, wearing only her glorious, long hair. In
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I'm having a shockingly hard time writing this review given that I had a great time with it and was provoked and amused by our heroine, Godiva.

Set in 11th century England, the novel follows two friends: the titular heroine Godiva, a flirtatious landowning noblewoman; and her best friend, Edgiva, niece of King Edward (the Confessor) and abbess of Leominster Abbey. Both girls grew up together in Leominster, but Godiva knew she would eventually marry while Edgiva, whose possible offspring could be
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galleys-arcs

If you can be patient and stick with this book trough the first 75 or 100 pages, it all becomes worth it. I have seen this book called “historical fiction lite” but if you were in my shoes, and you appreciate historical romance, you would see this as a little more ‘hefty” of a read. This book is filled with details that are sometimes boring and at other times, quite illuminating.

There are well-drawn characters, enough historical fact without the book turning into a history textbook. You do not
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I’m a sucker for books about what I like to call “the bad girls of history”, a group of infamous women exalted into legend because their actions pushed the boundaries of social order of their time, forever changing the course of history. So, when I learned about this book, about the one and only Lady Godiva of Mercia, I just had to read it.

I was disappointed with the Godiva depicted by Nicole Galland. She was portrayed as a conceited, shallow woman, more interested in her clothes and jewelry th
I couldn't help but like the spirited Godiva (really, were there any sedate women of history? But I guess they don't make for good books.) The pairing with her childhood friend Abbess Edgiva showing how women were respected in the Catholic Church as well as secular landowners in their own right in pre-Norman Britain was interesting to follow, especially given the nature of Godiva's fame. Traditionally the story is that she took her naked ride to protest her husband's taxation of the people, but ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

We all have heard the story of legendary Lady Godiva, the noblewoman who rode naked on the streets of Coventry in exchange for the reduction of the high taxation imposed on the land. But who was she? What happened after?

In this story, Galland portrays Godiva as a beauty who uses flirtation to further her husband’s goals. Luckily for her, her husband is aware of this manipulation and even enjoys it (which I found to be unrealistic). Godiva is aware of
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I started reading this I wanted to love it, but as I got into it I wasn't sure that would be the case. The first 100 pages felt extremely slow. There were so many different characters introduced, I started to feel a little lost. But thankfully once you become familiar with the cast and the reason for Godiva's famous ride is apparent, it read much quicker and I really enjoyed myself.

The only other book I remember reading that takes place in this time period (England in the 1000s), was The
Stephanie Ward
4.5 Stars

'Godiva' is a historical fiction novel that goes beyond the well known story of Lady Godiva - the woman who rode naked on horseback to help the people of her country - to show how she came to be on that horse and her life leading up to that infamous ride.

This was a beautifully written retelling of an ancient legend and one that makes the infamous Lady Godiva seem not only human, but realistic to the reader. Throughout the novel, we get to read about Godiva's daily life - her struggles,
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Nicole Galland has fictionalized the story of Lady Godiva and gives us a fairly rich story in which we see the court at its deceitful best. I found the historical aspects fascinating, but the story itself took a long time for me to get into. Godiva's repartee with those around her, but especially King Edward when she thinks she's bested him is terrific. I liked her as a character, I thought she cared about her people. I enjoyed the relationship she had with her husband, even as she used her wile ...more
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
(originally published at

The basics: Godiva is fictional retelling of the infamous Lady Godiva, her husband, and best friend Lady Abbess Egdiva.

My thoughts: I'm particularly fascinated by old, old history. There's something about trying to imagine life more than a few hundred years ago that challenges my mind. This phenomenon is at least partly attributable to my lack of knowledge about the actual history of these time periods, but Lady Godiva is a name I've heard
I want to like the lady Godiva of Mercia. I want to appreciate the sacrifice she made for her people. But she just has too many other flaws.
She uses her feminine wiles to help get things done for her husband. I like that a female character exercises some power, but I don't like that she used sexuality to do it. The author tries to make it okay by showing how much her husband appreciates what she does and how dedicated she and her husband are to each other. But that just doesn't make up for it.
Tracy Terry
Not something that particularly bothers me in other genres but once again here we have the story, albeit a fictionalised account, of what after all is a quintessentially English woman marred by the use of American spellings. Arguably only a small detail but to me an important one.

An okay if rather unimaginative account of what is described as 'a brilliantly crafted retelling of the legend of Godiva' made slightly more enjoyable by the inspired inclusion of Edviga, abbess, best friend and foster
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me some time to warm up to the main character at first, mainly because I'm more like Edgiva, and I prefer women to achieve what they want with their minds not their sexuality, but by the end of the book I had grown fond of Godiva and the whole story. My only critiques and I suppose all of my critiques are personal taste: 1) the sexual tension was sort of high and it goes into such detail, but when it comes to an actual sex scene there was little/no detail. I wish the pre-sex had either b ...more
Allison  Macias
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Nicole Galland retells the classic tale of Lady Godiva and her infamous ride. Godiva is the much loved wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. Devoted to her husband, but a notorious flirt, Godiva incurs the wrath of the King. In his wrath, he gives Godiva two options, a high unfair taxation on her already starving people or a naked ride through Coventry, her hometown. With help from her best friend, Abbess Egdiva, Godiva must prepare to make the historic ride. This romantic tale is a delightful re- im ...more
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Play Book Tag: Godiva by Nicole Galland - feeling generous 3 stars 3 8 Oct 01, 2016 08:45AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 21, 2015 12:23PM  
  • The Queen's Rivals
  • Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I (Ladies in Waiting #3)
  • Mistress of the Court (Georgian Queens #2)
  • The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard
  • Oleanna
  • A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica's Rebellion
  • The Raven's Heart: A Story of a Quest, a Castle and Mary Queen of Scots
  • Venus in Winter
  • India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (Madam of Espionage Mystery, #3)
  • Beautiful Lies
  • The Study of Murder (Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #3)
  • Daughter of the Sky
  • The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Defiant Daughter
  • Appetite
  • The Purple Shroud (Empress Theodora, #2)
  • Haussmann, or the Distinction
  • City of God
  • A Dissection of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)
Nicole Galland's newest offering, STEPDOG, is her first contemporary story, after five historical novels (all published by HarperCollins or its imprints): The Fool's Tale; I, Iago; Revenge of the Rose; Godiva; and Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade. With a collective of six other authors (including Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear) she co-authored the Mongoliad Trilogy (published by 47N). With act ...more
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