Godiva, by Nicole Galland
The awesome cover drew my eye and I snatched it off the New Books shelf at the library last week. I started reading eagerly – and kept reading because of this blog commitment.
Note to self: Think twice about following a profound book with one that is light and fun.
However, about an hour into the book, I started questioning my first impression. The character of Godiva had a lot of energy, and I actually started enjoying her outrageous manoeuvrings – which lead me to think: What’s wrong with a bit of fun? What’s wrong with a bit of flirtatious manipulation and intrigue, especially when all characters are aware it’s happening?
What the heck is wrong with a playful heroine?
Nothing. That’s what.
What I learned by reading this book: The timing was great for the elections down in the US, and the depression that came over me with all the pain and anger people are feeling down there. Godiva gave me the opportunity to lighten up and stop taking everything so bloody seriously.
The things that are important in this world, as was reaffirmed to Godiva by the end of the book, are loyalty to those you love and who love you, and keeping your sense of personal integrity. She let her sense of right and wrong guide her in a difficult political and personal situation – one of her own making of course.
She decided she would help her friend protest an unfair tax, but her methods rankled the King who set out to destroy her. Godiva remained true to herself and her loved ones, and let the chips fall where they may. Unfortunately, they didn’t fall well, and she had to be rescued by her friend – but isn’t that the way life works? It’s those who love us who pick us up, and when they’re down, we return the service.
I did find that the book was missing a few things, at least for me. I would have liked to have seen more detail of the time. Godiva lived in the 11th century, before the Norman invasion, and because much of the population still secretly followed pagan beliefs, women had a lot more power than they did during the later centuries. Nicole Galland touches on these things, but seems to focus more on the sassy conversations.
Another thing I would’ve liked is more description on setting. I couldn’t visualize what was around Lady Godiva most of the time, and sometimes inserted scenes from movies that were probably far from the correct period.
To me, these two things created a lack of depth in the story itself. And yet, it was the perfect book for me to read last week.
What’s wrong with a bit of fun? I’m going to ask myself that the next time I’m feeling down.
And then I’ll answer: Nothing. Nothing at all.