The Sons of Godwine: Part Two of The Last Great Saxon Earls by Mercedes Rochelle

02_The Sons of Godwine

The Sons of Godwine: Part Two of The Last Great Saxon Earls by Mercedes Rochelle

Publication Date: March 7, 2016
Sergeant Press
eBook & Print; 306 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Emerging from the long shadow cast by his formidable father, Harold Godwineson showed himself to be a worthy successor to the Earldom of Wessex. In the following twelve years, he became the King's most trusted advisor, practically taking the reins of government into his own hands. And on Edward the Confessor's death, Harold Godwineson mounted the throne—the first king of England not of royal blood. Yet Harold was only a man, and his rise in fortune was not blameless. Like any person aspiring to power, he made choices he wasn't particularly proud of. Unfortunately, those closest to him sometimes paid the price of his fame.

This is a story of Godwine's family as told from the viewpoint of Harold and his younger brothers. Queen Editha, known for her Vita Ædwardi Regis, originally commissioned a work to memorialize the deeds of her family, but after the Conquest historians tell us she abandoned this project and concentrated on her husband, the less dangerous subject. In THE SONS OF GODWINE and FATAL RIVALRY, I am telling the story as it might have survived had she collected and passed on the memoirs of her tragic brothers.

This book is part two of The Last Great Saxon Earls series. Book one, GODWINE KINGMAKER, depicted the rise and fall of the first Earl of Wessex who came to power under Canute and rose to preeminence at the beginning of Edward the Confessor's reign. Unfortunately, Godwine's misguided efforts to champion his eldest son Swegn recoiled on the whole family, contributing to their outlawry and Queen Editha's disgrace. Their exile only lasted one year and they returned victorious to London, though it was obvious that Harold's career was just beginning as his father's journey was coming to an end.

Harold's siblings were all overshadowed by their famous brother; in their memoirs we see remarks tinged sometimes with admiration, sometimes with skepticism, and in Tostig's case, with jealousy. We see a Harold who is ambitious, self-assured, sometimes egocentric, imperfect, yet heroic. His own story is all about Harold, but his brothers see things a little differently. Throughout, their observations are purely subjective, and witnessing events through their eyes gives us an insider’s perspective.

Harold was his mother's favorite, confident enough to rise above petty sibling rivalry but Tostig, next in line, was not so lucky. Harold would have been surprised by Tostig's vindictiveness, if he had ever given his brother a second thought. And that was the problem. Tostig's love/hate relationship with Harold would eventually destroy everything they worked for, leaving the country open to foreign conquest. This subplot comes to a crisis in book three of the series, FATAL RIVALRY.
My Review
Four Stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
The second part of"The Last Great Saxon Earls trilogy, "The Sons of Godwine" was a different experience than the previous book  "Godwine Kingmaker."  This  book is told from the characters point of view-which I love!  When I started to read I like the voices of the storyteller and I felt that a connection to the story and the characters!  The sons Swegn, Harold, Tostig, Leofwine, Gyrth, and Wulfnoth are all a part of the story.  We are able to catch a glimpse of their memories through their first person accounts. Personally, I found it interesting to see the power of this family and their rivalry.  It made them seem human.
If anyone has not read Merceds Rochelle, I highly recommend her. I always learn something new with her stories. 

Available at Amazon

About the Author

03_Mercedes Rochelle AuthorBorn 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. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

For more information visit Mercedes Rochelle's website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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