Hild by Nicola Griffith
Hild by Nicola Griffith is the imagined early life of St. Hilda of Whitby, one of the most powerful early converts to Christianity in England. It is clear that Griffith has done an astonishing amount of research, as she envelops you in a seventh century England that you can see, smell and almost touch and feel. An England that is on the cusp of embracing the new Christian God, while still living and breathing in a time of the Pagan gods.
Hild is the niece of Edwin, king of Northumbria, one of many small kingdoms, but with ambition to become overking of England. But Hild is seen to have an almost supernatural perception of what is happening – and what is to come. She must step carefully, for the sake of herself, her family and her people.
At first Hild is not an easy book to read. Griffith stays true to the time, and this means many similar names that are unusual for us – and hard to keep track of. She also uses the original names and terms for things – and thankfully there is a glossary at the back to help you keep track of it all. While this authenticity might slow the reader down at first, in my opinion it only adds to the story and is part of the reason why I could fully submerse myself in this different time and place.
As a side note, I’m getting ready to learn to spin, and reading about how spinning and weaving beautiful tapestries were the job for high-born women was absolutely fascinating to me.
I highly recommend Hild – my only criticism is that the second book isn’t out yet!
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.
I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review