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The Handfasted Wife: The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy

Carol McGrath

3 Reviews

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Elditha Swanneck, King Harold s handfasted wife, loses everything as she flees from an arranged marriage after the Battle of Hastings to fight for her children s survival.

'Moving, and vastly informative, a real page turner of a historical novel' FAY WELDON

The first instalment in Carol McGrath's captivating The Daughters of Hastings trilogy!

'This novel is a marvellous mixture of historical fact and imagination... I would heartily recommend this delightful novel. I couldn't put it down' 5* Reader review

'This is a beautifully crafted book which has been meticulously researched' 5* Reader review

'Fiction and history are woven together almost seamlessly' 5* Reader review

'I found it an engaging book and I wanted to keep reading' 5* Reader review

'A real page turner thanks to great characterisation' 5* Reader review

An adventure story of love, loss, survival and reconciliation . . .

The Handfasted Wife is the story of the Norman Conquest from the perspective of Edith (Elditha) Swanneck, Harold's common-law wife. She is set aside for a political marriage when Harold becomes king in 1066. Determined to protect her children's destinies and control her economic future, she is taken to William's camp when her estate is sacked on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. She later identifies Harold's body on the battlefield and her youngest son becomes a Norman hostage.

Elditha avoids an arranged marriage with a Breton knight by which her son might or might not be given into his care. She makes her own choice and sets out through strife-torn England to seek help from her sons in Dublin. However, events again overtake her.

Harold's mother, Gytha, holds up in her city of Exeter with other aristocratic women, including Elditha's eldest daughter. The girl is at risk, drawing Elditha back to Exeter and resistance. Initially supported by Exeter's burghers the women withstand William's siege. However, after three horrific weeks they negotiate exile and the removal of their treasure. Elditha takes sanctuary in a convent where eventually she is reunited with her hostage son.

Love the novels of Carol McGrath? Don't miss THE SILKEN ROSE, starring one of the most fierce and courageous forgotten queens of England!



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Praise for The Handfasted Wife: The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy

  • Moving, and vastly informative, a real page turner of a historical novel

  • This is an era and a family that I can't get enough of reading and the author surely did them justice... Carol McGrath has done impeccable research and is so very knowledgeable on these troubled times

  • McGrath's research into the medieval quotidian is superb, and beautifully translated into a pastoral fiction in the tradition of Hardy - Historical Novel Society

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Carol McGrath

Carol McGrath is the author of the acclaimed She-Wolves Trilogy, which began with the hugely successful The Silken Rose and continues with the brand new The Damask Rose. Born in Northern Ireland, she fell in love with historical fiction at a young age, when exploring local castles, such as Carrickfergus, and nearby archaeological digs - and discovering some ancient bones herself. While completing a degree in history, she became fascinated by the strong women who were silenced in record, and was inspired to start exploring their lives. Her first novel, The Handfasted Wife, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Awards, and Mistress Cromwell was widely praised as a timely feminist retelling of Tudor court life. Her novels are known for their intricacy, depth of research and powerful stories.

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