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Lady of Hay

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,375 ratings  ·  507 reviews
This masterfully crafted first novel tells the spellbinding story of a contemporary woman who discovers her past life as a 12th-century Welsh noblewoman. Erskine's extraordinary romance has been translated into 17 languages and has sold well over a million copies worldwide.
Paperback, 600 pages
Published March 13th 2001 by Welcome Rain Publishers (first published 1986)
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PrettyFlamingo Sibling rivalry. He was able to hypnotise people rather in the way of stage hypnotists. He hated his brother, but as to why, that explanation was…moreSibling rivalry. He was able to hypnotise people rather in the way of stage hypnotists. He hated his brother, but as to why, that explanation was never offered. (less)

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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,375 ratings  ·  507 reviews

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Aug 06, 2012 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 rated it it was ok
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
``Laurie Henderson
Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine reminds me of a Michael Bolton song.

Have you ever listened to one of his songs before? For those lucky ones that haven't been exposed to his over-wrought, to the point of ridiculous, screaming that passes for singing count yourself lucky!

Here's a link to one of his 'hits' for those into aural torture:
If you can make it to near the end of this song that's where this outrage comes into its own.

"Lady of Hay" by Barbara Erskine
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jan 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Sep 27, 2011 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
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Nov 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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.
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 19, 2016 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.
Caroline Pradier
Dec 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Such a waste of my time on this patronising, mysoginistic and nonsensical book.
Dont bother
عمران ابن مصر
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 ...more
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I think being a full-time student is making me less tolerant at times. DNF on pg 100.
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
Kelly Furniss
Jul 03, 2016 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book follows the story of Joanna Clifford who experiences a past-life regressions and learns that in the past she was Matilda of Hay, married to William de Braose, in love with Richard de Clare and pursued by King John I. When the past starts to seep into her present and influence what is going on in her life, things get very complicated.

I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this book - when the Jo is experiencing Matilda's life and interacts with Richard de Clare and John I it is a v
Polly Clarke
I was hoping for so much more. Maybe that's why I'm disappointed. The plots ok but the characters weren't fully formed for me. I didn't believe them enough and wanted to get the story over and done with. I would have loved Robin Hobb to have created the characters, but alas - Barbara Erskine is no Hobb. It did take me back to a time before the internet and mobile phones and a time when we wore ankle boots which made me smile. Maybe I should read another of her novels before being too judgemental ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m really struggling to write anything positive about this book. Please stay away from it if you are disturbed by rape scenes. Honestly, the amount of sexual/mental/emotional abuse going on is horrendous. I believe this was the norm in books written 30 years ago. I can only say thank god things have changed.

Lovely descriptions of Wales, somewhere I’ve been but don’t remember because I was too young. Erskine always writes haunting landscapes very well. The historical storyline is much more bear
Slumbering Rose
This book was far too long and conflicting, and the characters were lifeless and inherently stupid, vile, repugnant, and contradictory. And almost all they did was drink! If they would've all died, I wouldn't have mourned.

I did not care at all for the paranormal aspect and would perhaps have liked it a little if it were simply in the past, with Maude. I did, however, have to read to the end to know the intriguing story of Maude.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Took way too long to get into the story. 200 pages before it wasn't a chore to read anymore in my opinion is too much. The storyline was a bit far fetched. The ending lame.

This is a really poor excuse for a book review but I don't have much to say about this one...
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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.
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“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” 1 likes
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