I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read a book by Mercedes Rochelle titled Godwine Kingmaker – Part One Of The Last Great Saxon Earls. I doubt I could gush enough about this book.
Mrs. Rochelle truly has a talent for writing historical fiction and is an author I would love to see again. I am very intrigued by her writing style.
I admire the work historical authors have to do in order to achieve their body of work and make the story come alive. So much research is required with a good balance of imagination and creativity. I guess every writer has to know their stuff and do the research no matter what kind of story they are putting to pen; however, I think historical fiction requires that extra mile. There is so much I loved about this book.
I think it would be best to mention the outright brilliance and accuracy of the historical times this takes place in. I truly felt immersed and in Anglo-Saxon England during some very interesting events. I really give an A+ to Mrs. Rochelle for the history rich story she created. It is well done and you can definitely tell that a lot of time went into shaping this book.
I can easily say that Godwine is hands down my favorite part of the story. The main character has it all and is just absolutely unintentionally adorable. In the beginning of the book readers get to see a good natured young man who is eager to make a name for himself and bring his family the honor they have lost. He meets a fellow who has rank and can give him a position. He rescues this man and incurs favor.
This leads to a long road of events that allows Godwine to rise in station and rank. It is just plain cute how you see this occurs. Thoroughly an enjoyable read that I would recommend.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in St. Louis MO, Mercedes Rochelle graduated with a BA in Literature from University of Missouri. She learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. Her first four books are historical novels about 11th century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest. Mercedes now lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.
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