A story spanning centuries. A long awaited revenge.
In London, journalist Jo Clifford plans to debunk the belief in past-lives in a hard-hitting magazine piece. But her scepticism is shaken when a hypnotist forces her to relive the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, a noblewoman during the reign of King John.
She learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her love for the handsome Richard de Clare, and the brutal death threats handed out by King John, before it becomes clear that Jo’s past and present are inevitably entwined. She realises that eight hundred years on, Matilda’s story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to repeat itself…
Barbara Erskine’s iconic debut novel still delights generations of readers thirty years after its first publication.
‘The author's storytelling talent is undeniable. Barbara Erskine can make us feel the cold, smell the filth and experience some of the fear of the power of evil men.' The Times
'Unusual, intriguing, cleverly handled and gripping.' The Good Book Guide
'Fascinating, absorbing, original – all such praise comes easily when describing Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay. But perhaps the most suitable world is hypnotic.' SHE
'Convincing and extremely colourful.' The Mail
About the author
A historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of many bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus three collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Her first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over three million copies worldwide. She lives with her family in Hay-on-Wye.
To find out more visit www.barbaraerskine.com, follow @Barbaraerskine on Twitter or visit facebook.com/barbaraerskineofficial
Erskine's first novel gets off to a fine start. As a participant in a college research project on hypnotic regression, Jo Clifford is almost too good a subject. Under hypnosis, she relives the final, tortured moments in the life of Matilda, a 12th century Welshwoman. In the process, Jo herself comes close to death. The story then jumps 15 years. Jo, now a journalist researching regression, is again hypnotized and again regresses to Matilda's excitement-packed life. Unfortunately, the pace of the early pages is not maintained. The problem is not with Jo/Matilda, who are both well-drawn, or even with the whopping coincidences Jo encounters. What slows the narrative is the bevy of minor characters, Jo's acquaintances. They talk to her and about her, they try to help her and they conspire against her, all at the expense of the central plotline. This is still a good read, but it could have been better. Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild alternate.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of my all-time favourite books. Combination of love, romance, history, past lives.
From the moment I started reading I didn’t like the dialogue between characters— it seems so cheesy! Who talks like that? I almost didn’t buy it for that reason, but I wanted to know what happened in Matilda’s timeline.
The characters set in modern times were really one-dimensional, I couldn’t find myself connecting with any of them, not to mention their motives and personalities are all over the place and don’t make ANY sense. It felt really messy, like the author didn’t even know or understand her own characters’ personalities or motives.
No sub-plots at all which made it seem even more shallow- was there any conversation between two characters that wasn’t centred around Jo or her regression experience or Jo and Nick? I can’t recall one. In that sense, there was no depth to any of the characters or their lives.
About Jo and Nick, I’m sorry but why and how can anyone root for them as a couple? They were terrible together and oh yea, he raped her AND tried to kill her on more than one occasion! Whaaaat? I can appreciate a complicated romance but that is not even romance, that’s just complicated.
And don’t even get me started on the ending— it was so disappointing. No closure, no clarity, nothing! Just a few lame epilogues showing everyone lives happily ever after.
I think if the author stripped away everything except Matilda’s story I would have liked this book much better; Matilda’s timeline is the only reason I can give this book 2 stars.