Tuesday, 17 November 2015

NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold

Eliza Redgold will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

This blog post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and unashamed romantic. Her new novel Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released by St Martin’s Press in 2015.

Q. Why do you write romance?
A. Romance has had rotten representation. It needs an extreme makeover. Let’s start by looking at its roots. (They’re not really blonde.)

Romance is no fairy tale. It’s a real story of an amazing revolution. When the troubadours travelled from court to court in Europe telling a new kind of story in the language romanz they changed the relationship between women and men forever. Their stories lead to the creation of romance.

Romance has been called the first form of feminism. In the Middle Ages, many noble women were forced into unhappy marriages for political or financial alliance. When they heard the romanz tales of the troubadours, they demanded more heart-warming relationships instead.  They created new love arts called amour courteoise: ‘courtly love’, which, over time, became the basis of what we know today as romance.

Romance flourished particularly in French court circles of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and of her daughter, Countess Marie of Champagne. A patroness of the leading Provencal troubadours, Queen Eleanor brought their songs and stories to prominence right across Europe, while under Countess Marie’s command, Chretien de Troyes wrote the original story featuring Sir Lancelot, the great knightly hero who went on to personify the romantic dreams of generations of women. It’s also believed that Countess Marie was the brains behind a famous book, The Arts of Courtly Love, which listed the first ever rules of romance.  Its rules were designed to increase the lasting pleasures of love.

Romance wasn’t only created for courtly ladies. A true knight wouldn’t accept love except as a gift of free will. A knight served a lady who inspired him to acts of chivalry, which didn’t only include his behaviour on the battlefield, but in the boudoir. It could be the knights who were the most passionate. Efficient sword play (on the battlefield or in the bedroom) just wasn’t enough.

To this day, we puzzle over the power of romance, why it appeared when it did, why it has survived. Romance remains: a noble idea, a radical vision, a dream.  Romance remind us that talking of love, thinking of love, writing about love, isn’t something sappy, or trashy, pulp fiction or pink foil wrapped, only suitable for February 14th. Romance was one of the most influential ideas we ever created.

That’s why I write romance!

We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story.

We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva’s ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for ‘peeping Tom’) and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

Naked is an original version of Godiva’s tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.


If the rider heard he made no sign. Clad in a silver helmet and armored in brown leather, he galloped under the arches, my warning ignored. His great black horse circled the courtyard, raising dust as he halted in front of the steps.

For a moment he didn’t move. Nor did I, except to tighten my fingers on the handle of my blade.

He lifted off his helmet.

A pair of piercing eyes met mine.

This is not Thurkill.

The knowledge flashed into my brain. The man in front of me was tall and strong. Many years younger than my father, perhaps thirty years of age, his face a tanned brown. His hair, tawny as an owl wing, fell to the studded collar of his armor, its leather stretched across his shoulders.

He spoke. “You are Godiva.”

Hawk high I lifted my head. “I am. Who are you? Why have you come to my lands?”

Dirt swirled in the air as his horse hoofed the ground. River deep turned his gaze as he took me in, lingering on the thick braid that fell over my shoulder to brush to my thigh.

 “Well?” A flame flickered though me, hotter than fear. A flame I’d never known.

 “Who are you?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
ELIZA REDGOLD is an author, academic and unashamed romantic.
Eliza Redgold is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. Eliza has also written two upcoming Victorian historical romances for Harlequin Historical. Look out for ‘Enticing Benedict Cole’ in November 2015.

Follow Eliza Redgold on
Twitter: @ElizaRedgold
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ElizaRedgoldAuthor
Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/elizaredgold
or subscribe to her newsletter at www.elizaredgold.com


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for having me visit to talk about romance! :) I hope readers enjoy NAKED.

  2. Awesome post, I'm looking forward to reading the book! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful idea for a story. I really enjoyed your comments about the original Lady Godiva.

  5. Oooh can't wait to get this book!!

  6. What is one of the weirdest things you used to do as a teenager?