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Lady of Hay: Two Women, Eight Hundred Years, and the Destiny They Share [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Erskine
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Two Women, Eight Hundred Years, and the Destiny They Share

"Barbara Erskine can make us feel the cold, smell the filth, and experience some of the fear of the power of evil men...The author's storytelling talent is undeniable."

-Times of London

With a story as mesmerizing as it is chilling, Lady of Hay explores how Jo, a journalist investigating hypnotic regression, plunges into the life of Matilda, Lady of Hay-who lived eight hundred years earlier. As she learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her troubled love for Richard de Clare, and the brutal treatment she received from King John, it seems that Jo's past and present are hopelessly entwined. Centuries later, a story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to begin again-and she has no choice but to brave both lives if she wants to shake the iron grip of history.

"So well researched and so well written that it is almost impossible to put down. The novel has everything that readers of racy fiction could ask for: beautiful characters, exotic settings, and passion...situations and characters that are so completely convincing that they come to life."

-Philadelphia Inquirer

"Told with hair-raising intensity, this is a gripping tale."

-Daily News

"Barbara Erskine is a superb storyteller."

-Los Angeles Daily News

"Fascinating, absorbing, original-all such praise comes easily when describing Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay. But perhaps the most suitable word is hypnotic."


What Readers are Saying

"A classic in its own right."

"An extraordinary story of time travel at its best."

"The most unputdownable book I have ever come across."

Barbara Erskine is a historian and internationally bestselling author of Lady of

Hay as well as Time's Legacy, Kingdom of Shadows, Encounters, Child of the Phoenix, Midnight Is a Lonely Place, House of Echoes, Distant Voices, Whispers in the Sand, Hiding from the Light, and On the Edge of Darkness. Her first novel blending the historical and the supernatural catapulted her to success, and her novels have been translated into thirty languages.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Erskine's first novel gets off to a fine start. As a participant in a college research project on hypnotic regression, Jo Clifford is almost too good a subject. Under hypnosis, she relives the final, tortured moments in the life of Matilda, a 12th century Welshwoman. In the process, Jo herself comes close to death. The story then jumps 15 years. Jo, now a journalist researching regression, is again hypnotized and again regresses to Matilda's excitement-packed life. Unfortunately, the pace of the early pages is not maintained. The problem is not with Jo/Matilda, who are both well-drawn, or even with the whopping coincidences Jo encounters. What slows the narrative is the bevy of minor characters, Jo's acquaintances. They talk to her and about her, they try to help her and they conspire against her, all at the expense of the central plotline. This is still a good read, but it could have been better. Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Matilda de Braose was an actual 12th-century Englishwoman who angered and was put to death by King John. Fictional journalist Jo Clifford undergoes hypnosis while researching the story of her previous life as Matilda. As she becomes increasingly obsessed with the story, her male friends assume the roles of Matilda's husband, lover, and the king, manipulated by "mad scientist" Dr. Sam Franklyn, who hypnotizes all of them. Jo's story is initially an annoying intrusion in a historical drama that could easily have stood on its own merits. The modern-day characters are all "types," none of them particularly likeable. However, as Matilda's death nears, this complex first novel turns in to an engrossing gothic that races to an exciting conclusion. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. Marcia R. Hoffman, M.L.S., Hoechst Celanese Corp., Somerville, N.J.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2422 KB
  • Print Length: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0040RKX6K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,353 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible March 2, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read a lot of English historical fiction. I was really surprised to see all the good reviews for this book. I thought much of it was boring, hard to read, very contrived and unrealistic. Also there is a disturbing amount of abuse of the heroine, including multiple rapes - and the heroine keeps going back for more. SPIOLERS ALERT: At least four characters (Sam/William and Nick/John)are violently abusive to the main character.

The only interesting thing about it for me was the look at the life of Moll Wallbe. I could barely get through this book and was glad when it was over.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising start...but ultimately disappointing October 22, 2003
By Barbara
Lady of Hay makes a promising start. Jo is a young journalist who researches past life regression for a magazine article. As research, she undergoes hypnosis and discovers that she is not only easily hypnotized (so easily that later in the book someone calls and hypnotizes her over the phone!) but in a previous life she was Matilda de Braose, a 12th century Welshwoman. How exciting, I said to myself. This could be very fun. Matilda is a real historical figure. I love historical fiction. I would enjoy the puzzle of matching past lives with present characters, and of course I hoped for romance. But was not to be.
The first half of the book was great. It keeps up a good pace and intriguing events unfold as Jo and her present life alternate with regressions to Matilda's existence. But by the second half of the book there is no new material and far too much repetition as well inexplicable violence against the main character that simply turned me off to her possible love interests. In the 1st half of the book we learn that 3 men love Jo in both the past and the present and we know who they were in their past lives. We also learn about the end of Matilda's life very early in the story. So where can the author take us from here?
I hoped that some of the modern day characters besides the 3 men would eventually be revealed to have some involvement in the past lives or a more important role in the present. However, they don't. I also expected that that the author might expand on history and offer an explanation for the legend of Matilda building Hay castle in one night. She doesn't. And I was disappointed with the mundane theory about rumors that Matilda was a witch. The explanation: she studied herb lore with her nurse Jeanne and rides horses swiftly, like a man.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised by how much I loved it! May 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book based on the recommendation by a friend and was surprised by how much I loved it. For some reason, the back cover summary left me skeptical and unconvinced. I finished the book tonight and loved it! The mix of a modern day story versus the period time story of the "past life" kept me interested and turning the pages (or pushing my Kindle button forward is more like it). I think people who are fans of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon will relate well to and enjoy this book as well. Don't let the "past life" part scare you off. Highly recommend it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So drawnout! August 8, 2011
By Kim
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book started off so well but it was incredibly long and drawnout!I almost lost the will to live! The basic premise of the book was great but it started to get sillier and sillier as it went along. Pity because it had all the ingredients for a good read.......
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WoW, a Blast From the Past June 27, 2000
What wonderful news to see a classsic book make a reappearance. Who can we thank for such insight? LADY OF HAY is classic past lives/reincarnation, certainly a step up from current time travel . This is where it all started influencing authors such as Jeanette Baker and Jude Deveraux. LADY OF HAY was a wonderful read when it first came out and is now a classic in its own right, sure to help a whole new generation of readers discover this exceptional author. The concept of writing two storylines in two seperate time periods with each effortlessly interwoven with the other is only possible because of the exceptional writing talent of Ms Erskine. If you are reader who devours all sorts of the paranormal historicals and historical romances this one should be an automatic buy, because this is where is all began. This is not time travel this is reincarnation and no one does it better than Barbara Erskine. Jody Allen, Charter member-RIO Reviewers International Organization
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Story of Time Travel At Its Best! February 22, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in 1986 on the advice of a friend and from that time onwards I seek out all of Ms. Erskine's books on a regular basis.
This particular book was real find if you want to become entranced with a modern day independent woman who was made to realize she had lived before many centuries ago in a time when women were sold off in marriages made of convenience for money, power, property. The parallels of the past life haunt the present life of the central character as she "sees" how the three men in her present life draw distinct parallels to the men in her past life. To say anymore would be unfair! READ IT, SAVOR IT, YOU WILL LOVE IT!!
Then follow up reading this book with the book that followed this one,Kingdom of Shadows, which takes place in Scotland.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating journey through the past July 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lady of Hay is one of the most interesting books I've read this year. The attention to detail of events from the 12th and 13th centuries, counterposed against modern times, grabbed my attention right from the start. The thought of being able to travel to the past has always intrigued me, and this book didn't disappoint. It is well plotted and the characters are well developed.

While those characters are certainly all too human, Sam is probably one of the snarkiest villians I've read about in recent months. Of course, there's the argument -- was it all planned by Sam in his evil, twisted mind, or was he really William? Was Nick really King John, or did Sam really do a number on Nick via hypnotic suggestion? Was Jo just an impressionable woman, hoisted on her own petard of vivid imagination and a love of history, or was she really a reincarnation of Matilda?

Each reader must make his/her own decision. Me? I just went along for the ride and enjoyed every moment. Along the way, I learned a bit more about English history ... and that's a good thing, too.

I highly recommend this book for a jolly good read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love them
Cannot wait to start on a sixth book story so in depth I lose myself. lose sleep but totally enjoy them. An amazing writer
Published 1 month ago by enjoyed
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
Entertaining but I found it depressing it was well written but I found for me not enough variation it was too much of the same thing
Published 1 month ago by fran scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I did - and loved the sequel too
Friends had been telling meto read it for years. Glad I did - and loved the sequel too!
Published 3 months ago by Yvonne Bramwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Leading lady lacked maturity
I liked the writing get style but did not relate to the leading lady.
Published 3 months ago by Carolyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern day suspense mixed with historical fiction
The story line was fairly implausible and the modern day characters were hard to relate to, but I really enjoyed this novel anyway. Read more
Published 4 months ago by lovetoread
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
couldn't put it down but almost missed the unexprcted ending
Published 4 months ago by Judith Flitcroft
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Compelling from start to finish; difficult to put down
Published 5 months ago by Sandra Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
This is a very interesting, suspenseful, story to read. Good historical book. I could not put it down. I do not believe in reincarnation, but it was fun to read.
Published 6 months ago by Louise
4.0 out of 5 stars If I wasn't told by others it was a great read I definitely would have...
After reading a few of Barbara's novels I was interested in reading her very first one.

It took a LOT of page turning to get into it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by BraceFace
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady of Hay
This is the quintessential time slip book for those who like the genre. I read it first back in the nineteen eighties – not long after it was first published and was hooked from... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Damaskcat
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