Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lady of Hay

Okay, last night when I was talking about destroying yarn to see how much stress it can take, I mentioned finishing a really good book.  It's called Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine.  I downloaded it as a free book through - I had heard of it through a newsletter called Pixel of Ink.  Wow, this site and newsletter has me stocked up on free or really cheap books to last quite a few years!  :-)

Anyway, back to the book...

I almost didn't download this book because I thought the title was kind of weak - and well, it is.  It almost sounds like a cheap romance novel.  Oh, but this book is so far from one of those sleazy romance novels.  Once you get all of the characters straight, it's so hard to put the book down!  I was reading it a little at a time when I first opened it and it took more than a week to read it.  I do have to say that the last half of the book was read in just a couple days though.

Okay, so here is the basic concept of the story: The main character, Jo, is a reporter who is researching the whole concept of using hypnosis to regress people to find out if (or about) their previous lives.  Well, Jo finds out that she did live before as a noblewoman in the 12th century.  Then there is an interesting twist to the whole story... apparently a few of the main players of Jo's previous self from 800 years ago have also found new lives in the 20th (current time in the story is 1985) century and are trying to change what had happened before.

Once that whole twist was introduced it was a little confusing remembering who everyone was and how they played in the story, but once I got my characters straightened out, I was able to pick up speed in the story.

I was really impressed with the amount of research that went into this book!  I was reading the timeline and authors notes about this book and the characters from the 12th century were real!  Now, the story that she wrote for them may not have been, but she work off of speculation and legends from the area.  I love knowing that a writer put that kind of effort into an story.  It makes me appreciate it even more.  :-)  :-)

What is also fun about this whole story is the concept of reincarnation.  Do you believe it or not?  I guess it all depends on what kind of religion you've grown up with or what kind of religion you are now... but after reading this book it kind of did make me think.  :-)  And thinking about it is also half the fun.  Coming up with all of the "What if..." questions and wondering.  If it were really possible to get hypnotized and regressed like this book talks about, it would be a cool way of jumping back in time to see what life was really like back then... "then" being whatever time frames your previous life lived.  :-)  I love to read about history and historical novels like this one, but sometimes the details are just not detailed enough.  To tell you the truth, I've always wondered how certain hygiene habits that we take for granted today were dealt with back then.  Daily showers?  Deodorant?  Dental floss?  Feminine hygiene products for menstruation?  Not very many books talk about that - at least none of the books I've read.  :-)  :-)

I also loved the writing style for this writer.  It was smooth but not over worded.  Maybe that's not the right word I'm looking for... I don't believe that something can be over worded.  It's kind of like trying to tell someone that a certain piece of music has too many notes.  But some authors take description a little overboard.  Some people like it; I personally don't.  With this writer, I got a good sense to where she was and what the castle, room or whatever she was describing and the actions and feelings of the characters were excellent.  When Mathilda was starting to suffer from arthritis, I could almost feel her pain.  The stress and anguish she must have felt when she was abandoned by her husband when he didn't show up with the money he owed the king... it's painful to read that kind of sadness but the writing was so well done that I could almost imagine what she was feeling.

I do have to warn you though, this book is long.  I don't know how long because Kindle doesn't give me page numbers, but it did take me a while to read it.  I don't think she would have been able to write such a good book in less pages.  I personally think that she could have gone into just a wee bit more detail in certain areas, but the book is a wonderful story either way.  :-)  :-)  I was a little sad that the story didn't turn out like I wanted, but then, I didn't write the book now, did I?  :-)

I have a feeling that this book may have been written around the same time as the book's timeline - 1985 - so this book may have been out for a while.  There has to be someone that has to have read it that would like to talk to me about it....  :-)  Please feel free to email or leave a comment.  :-)  :-)