2013 Book Reviews · Favourite Books

Lady Of Hay by Barbara Erskine

I’m so torn, because I don’t want to review this through fear of not doing it enough justice. But I have to do it because if I can get just one person to pick this up and give it a read, I will be ecstatic.

This book changed my whole perspective on reading. (True) It was first published in 1986. I discovered it at 16 by an aunt who told me I should read it. I took it to be polite, I had no intention of reading it as I only read crime/horror/thrillers. This didn’t appeal to me, it was different, I was a teenager stuck in my ways.
But I did read it, and it grabbed me and sucked me in. Since then I’ve never not at least tried something different, because this book taught me that by trying a different genre than what you are used to, you will find something really quite magical.
This is now my most read book, and possibly my most favourite in the entire world. (Have to apologise to my Harry Potter books here, mummy loves you too!)

“Jo Clifford, successful journalist, is all set to debunk the idea of past-life regression in her next magazine series. But when she submits herself to a simple hypnotic session, she suddenly finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

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This story starts in 1970 Jo is at university and is being hypnotised. She is being watched over by Professor Cohen and Dr Franklyn.
They soon discover that Jo is a extremely good subject, she goes into a deep trance really quick.
But something’s wrong she is begging to a William for her child. She is bleeding. They try desperately to bring her out of her trance, but can’t. Then she isn’t breathing. She’s dead.
Quickly the professor and doctor give her mouth to mouth and manage to get her breathing again. Slowly they bring her out of her trance making her forget what happened.

Then we go to the present day Jo is a successful journalist and is planning on writing a piece on regression, basically what a load of rubbish it is.
Nick (brother of Sam Franklyn) her ex partner tries to stop her from doing the story, knowing Jo will be hypnotised to write a good story, but he can’t she is a strong willed and independent woman.
She ends up being hypnotised again, and again, she is a brilliant subject. She is thrown into the past as Matilda. Very quickly we learn that Matilda’s husband William de Braose is a “vicious ill-bred” man and that he is much older than the young Matilda. We also learn quickly that Richard de Clare and Matilda are very fond of each other.
The story goes back and forth between present and past. Which I adored as I was so eager to learn more of Matilda, something that Jo is keen to do also.
Throughout the story we learn that Matilda is deeply in love with Richard de Clare, and they go to great lengths to see each other. We learn that William de Broase is a nasty bully of a man.
King John takes a liking to Matilda also and terrifies her and gives her brutal death threats.
As we learn more of Jo’s present and Matilda’s past we realise the two are entwined with each other, hundreds of years later we are to learn the story of Matilda but at what cost?
How far will Jo go to find out the fate of Matilda?

This story for me is EPIC! There I said it. And you can’t disagree unless you have read it! πŸ˜‰ this is a truly fascinating book. When the book is in the present you are literally gagging to read faster to get back to the past and find out what happens. It’s dark, violent and gritty. It has love and passion, past and present, and will leave you awake until the early hours unable to put it down.
To say I love this book is an understatement, because I don’t own or know a word I could use to get across just how much I love this book. I just hope this review will be enough.

If you do read this, or have read this, PLEASE let me know. I would LOVE to hear what you think?

Here is where you can order a copy;
Lady of Hay http://amazon.co.uk/dp/000725086X

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2 thoughts on “Lady Of Hay by Barbara Erskine

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