Sarah's Reviews > Lady of Hay

Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
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's review
Sep 02, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: borrowed, historical
Recommended to Sarah by: The Mother

I'm not really sure that you can describe this as a romance, or as a mystery. Past-life psychological romantic drama, maybe...

Jo Clifford is a hard-bitten journalist who discovers that she is the reincarnation of Matilda de Braose, the 12th century "Lady of Hay". (Though there's no actual evidence of her being hard- anything; once her cynicism about past-life regression is overcome, she turns into a big old marshmallow.) Matilda was married young to a brute, had a brief affair with a knight (whose child she bore), became a successful overseer of her husband's lands, and was the subject of the obsessive lust of King John.

Jo consults experts and amateurs in hypnosis and past life regression, and slowly works her way through Matilda's life - both the joys and the horrors. Entwined in this past life are her recently-ex boyfriend Nick, his scary and possibly psychotic brother Sam, and photographer Tim - all of whom seem to be reincarnated characters from Matilda's life.

CAVEAT: The majority of the historical relationships within this book are entirely the author's imagination; she used real events, but there is no evidence of Matilda having an affair, or being John's lust-object. So calling it "historical" is pushing things a bit.

It's a fun read, though, and about 3.5 out of 5 on the Unputdownable Scale. I could have read it in one sitting, if I'd had the time. (As it was, it took me three months, reading a few pages at a time!)

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Reading Progress

September 2, 2008 – Shelved
November 28, 2010 – Started Reading
December 7, 2010 –
page 100
13.02% "Blimey, is it really 768 pages? My copy is upstairs so I can't check... Enjoying it, but reading in small chunks due to life getting in the way."
February 24, 2011 – Finished Reading
February 26, 2011 – Shelved as: borrowed
February 26, 2011 – Shelved as: historical

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