Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked this book up at 60 per cent off at the Borders' going out of business sale, for two reasons: I love historical novels, I love BIG juicy novels, and because of the rave reviews on the back cover--including the ubiquitous designation (yes, I've used it too) of "unputdownable."
Well, Lady of Hay wasn't a bad book. In fact, it was well written and well-researched, and I did care about the main character, Joanna.
And though I love big books, I believe this one suffered from being TOO big.
Not only was it putdownable, I found myself almost grudgingly picking it up again, as if it was a school assignment and not something I was just reading for pleasure.
It's about a modern-day woman who submits to hypnosis, revealing that she was a baron's wife in the 12th century. As the regressions become more in-depth and frightening, Joanna realizes that her past life has become inextricably--and dangerously--intertwined with her present life.
Yep, you have to swallow the whole "past life" thing, but this IS fiction, so I'm OK with suspending disbelief.
However, I found myself getting a little impatient with the lengthy narratives that took place when Jo "regressed" into her past life character, Matilda...and I even started skimming a bit, which is something I try never to do when I read a book.
Honestly, if it were edited down to roughly half its current size, I honestly think it would have been a terrific book. It's a compelling story about a fascinating woman who really existed.
It's just...too long.
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