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Daughters of Hastings Books In Order

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Publication Order of Daughters of Hastings Books

The Handfasted Wife (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Swan-Daughter (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Betrothed Sister (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Daughters of Hastings series is an exciting series of historical fiction, romance, and medieval fiction stories. It is penned by an excellent English novelist named Carol McGrath. This widely popular series is set in England during the 11th century and features exciting stories of love and the struggles involved in it. The themes that run through the series include religion’s importance and dominance in people’s lives and the importance of exquisite, creative needlework, especially embroidery, in the lives of women. Carol McGrath has filled the novels with rich details and true historical facts, which proves that she has done deep research during the development of the series. Mostly, the books are episodic in form and depict the various aspects of the lives of the central characters. Through this series, Carol McGrath wants to say to her readers that changes are sure to happen, but they may not always happen for the better. So, individuals must be ready to face all kinds of situations and never have high expectations from life. Some essential characters created by Carol McGrath for this series include Edith Swanneck, Norman Conquest, Harold Godwinson, William, Gytha Godwinson, Wilton Abbey, Count Alain, Gunnhild, and several others.

The debut book of the Daughters of Hastings series written by author Carol McGrath is entitled ‘The Handfasted Wife’. It was released in 2013 by the Accent Press publication. This book tells the story of the era of Norman Conquest and is described from the point of view of the main female lead, Edith Swanneck. Edith is depicted as the wife of Harold Godwinson. The two became each other’s life partners by handfast wedding and not a usual church marriage. Throughout this beautiful novel, Carol McGrath has described moving tales about Harold and Edith’s love, their children, struggles, and the ups & downs in their lives. This novel talks about the days of the hardship of Edith Swanneck during the aftermath of her husband’s death, how she searched for the dead body of Harold, her forceful and loveless marriage to a Breton knight, her subsequent escape, living in Ireland for some time and finding her two sons, and her final return to England, where she decides to spend the rest of her life without fear for what comes next for her.

The story takes place in 1066 when Harold Godwinson gets sits on the throne as king. After Editha’s political marriage to Harold and giving birth to his children, she becomes determined to safeguard the destinies of her children and control the economic future of her family. Following an attack on her estate during the Battle of Hastings, Editha is taken to the camp of William. Later, she identifies the body of Harold lying on the field. Editha is devasted to find her husband lifeless. And to add to her problems, Norman Conquest takes her youngest son hostage. Later, she is forced to be given away to a knight from Breton in marriage. But, when Editha learns that there is no surety where she will get back her son even after the marriage, she decides to run away.

After undergoing a journey throughout England, Editha finally arrives in Dublin, where she asks her sons’ help. However, she again faces disappointment due to the turn of events. Editha’s eldest daughter and her mother-in-law, Gytha, get held up in Exeter along with a few other aristocratic ladies. Knowing that they are at risk due to an upcoming siege, Editha is forced to head back to Exeter and join the resistance. There, the women and Editha withstand the siege of Exeter at the hands of William with the support of the city’s burghers. But, after fighting for three long weeks, they end up negotiating their exile from Exeter along with their treasure. The courageous woman, Editha, goes on to take shelter in a convent and becomes happy to meet her hostage son. Carol McGrath has penned this exciting adventure story by describing love, survival, loss, and reconciliation.

The second installment of the series is known as ‘The Swan-Daughter’. It was also published by the Accent Press publication in 2014. This book revolves around the life of Gunnhild, the daughter of Harold Godwinson and Edith Swanneck. Carol McGrath has chosen 1075 as the year in which the events of this book took place. Initially, it is mentioned that Edith Swanneck has died and Gunnhild is introduced as the 18-year-old daughter of King Harold. She lives in a nunnery and feels she is being pressured at taking her vows. But, Gunnhild does not have any intention to become a nun. She still thinks of herself as a princess and hopes to get married to a knight and enjoy all the luxuries of life that a princess does. Later, Richmond’s Count Alan approaches her and reveals his intention of eloping with her. He tells her how much he is fond of his beauty and how much he has started loving her.

Impressed by the gutsy nature of Count Alan, Gunnhild agrees to run away with her. However, she wonders at times whether he truly loves her or just wants her inheritance from her father & mother that she is soon going to own. In this story, author McGrath has given an excellent depiction of 11th-century courtly life. As the story progresses further, it is learned that Alan doesn’t love Gunnhild. However, he does respect her. Both of them go on to find romance somewhere else. Gunnhild indulges with the brother of Alan, while he gets involved with a servant’s wife. Overall, the story is quite wonderful and interesting. Once again, Carol McGrath has brought the 11th century to life with her well-researched details and in-depth information about the life and style of that era.

Carol McGrath is a renowned English author of romance and historical fiction novels. She hails from Belfast, The United Kingdom, and is particularly famous for writing The Daughters of Hastings trilogy series. Recently, McGrath has started a new trilogy series called The Rose Trilogy. Its debut novel, The Silken Rose, has already been published to great success. Before venturing into the world of writing and publishing, McGrath earned her bachelor’s degree in English and History from Queens University, Belfast. This was followed by a post-graduate degree in creative writing from the same university. Author McGrath also holds an MPhil degree in writing from London University’s The Royal Holloway College.

Carol McGrath made her debut as an author with the 2013 book called The Handfastened Wife. This historical fiction novel tells the story of 11th-century noblewomen from their own perspective. McGrath followed it up with two sequels. All three books have been bestsellers. Their worldwide successes have helped the author establish herself as one of the top-rated authors of the present time. McGrath is grateful for all the love she has received from her fans as well as the critics over the years. She claims to have been highly influenced by authors such as Wolf Hall, Anya Seton, Hilary Mantel, etc., and wants to work hard like them and achieve greater heights of success.

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