AN author and academic from Australia was so inspired by her visit to Coventry she wrote a novel based around the Lady Godiva legend – for international publication.
Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd’s trip from down under has resulted in ‘Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva’ – to be published in July by St Martin’s Press in New York.
The academic in gender studies at the School of Psychology and Social Science at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia describes herself as “a fan of Coventry”.
She added: “I had this travel piece published a year or two back which I hope brought some visitors to the city.
“I was very inspired by my visit. Following on from that is my first historical fiction.
“As you can imagine this is unusual for an academic and being published in the US is very exciting!”
Elizabeth, who writes romances and other fiction as Eliza Redgold based upon the Gaelic meaning of her name, has published widely including ‘Stay at Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates’ (Demeter Press) and ‘Body Talk: A Power Guide for Girls’ (Hachette).
In her travel review published in The Australian newspaper, she said her fascination with the Godiva legend and “intrigue by the myth” led her to “set out for Coventry to look for her” four years ago.
She noted the city’s “sense of hope” which had seen its revival from the Blitz was also – in the run-up to the Olympics – “present in the streets of Coventry, despite the city being hit hard by the recent economic crisis.”
She told the Coventry Observer: “I made the visit to look for Lady Godiva.. I found her – Godiva’s image was everywhere I turned.
“I loved the Godiva trail. It’s wonderful for fans to follow. The two cathedrals are also inspiring – the old and the new side by side – but I particularly experienced a strange feeling near the place where Godiva and Leofric are believed to be buried.
“I hadn’t known it existed. Their spirits are definitely still in the air.”
The resulting novel is billed as “delivering far more than the famous ride of Lady Godiva.”
One early review has described it as “a beautifully woven story of love, loyalty, and the determination of a young woman to protect her people and their way of life, no matter the price.
“Godiva is a wonderfully strong woman in an age of dangerous men, and in NAKED, she certainly meets her match!”
Elizabeth, who was born in Scotland, adds: “History has been hard on Lord Leofric.
“In most of the Godiva stories, Leofric of Mercia is definitely the villain of the piece, ready to impose heavy taxes and to ignobly allow his wife to carry out her daring ride.
“Yet by the end of his life, historical documents reveal Lord Leofric was a changed man. My explanation: he fell in love… I became determined to clear Leofric’s name.”
St Martin’s Press says: “As both an academic in gender studies and a novelist who has written romances, she is passionate about the telling of the tales of women.”