Godwine Kingmaker by Mercedes Rochelle
Harold Godwineson, the Last Anglo-Saxon King, owed everything to his father. Who was this Godwine, first Earl of Wessex and known as the Kingmaker? Was he an unscrupulous schemer, using King and Witan to gain power? Or was he the greatest of all Saxon Earls, protector of the English against the hated Normans? The answer depends on who you ask. He was befriended by the Danes, raised up by Canute the Great, given an Earldom and a wife from the highest Danish ranks. He sired nine children, among them four Earls, a Queen and a future King. Along with his power came a struggle to keep his enemies at bay, and Godwine’s best efforts were brought down by the misdeeds of his eldest son Swegn. Although he became father-in-law to a reluctant Edward the Confessor, his fortunes dwindled as the Normans gained prominence at court. Driven into exile, Godwine regathered his forces and came back even stronger, only to discover that his second son Harold was destined to surpass him in renown and glory.
This was the first book I read that has Godwine as the main character and it was great to see things from his perspective. We see how he manages to rise from a commoner to one of the most influential men in England.
I’m in two minds how I felt about this book and probably the biggest reason is that I couldn’t relate to Godwine. He’s like I met this total stranger in the forest, he seems like a nice fellow so why don’t I join him and turn traitor to my country? Simple as that. And off to kill your countymen you go. Hmm…
He falls in love with Gytha, who refuses his proposal and acts all haughty anyway, and king gives permission to marry her after Gytha’s brother is killed. She suspects Godwine is involved in the murder. Does it surprise that the marriage starts bit rocky? I just couldn’t understand why he wanted to marry her in the first place. I did like to see how they could turn that into a love match later on.
Godwine was a good hero for the book and it was fascinating to see how he manages to maneuver between difficult political times and different alliances. Later in the book we get another view of him when Edward the Confessor comes into picture.
Published: Top Hat Books (April 24, 2015)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they built themselves.
Godwine Kingmaker Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday, April 23
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Saturday, April 25
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Tuesday, April 28
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, April 29
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, May 5
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, May 8
Review at Layered Pages