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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Barbara Erskine - Lady of Hay

review by showhost
(832 pages first published in 1986 - her first book) 
1980's Jo Clifford is a journalist.  she is writing an article for a magazine about peoples belief in a past life.  Jo is a complete non-believer and is out to prove it is all nonsense. 
she is invited to sit in on a couple of hypnotic sessions, with the patients consent, and both with different hypnotists.  The first one doesn't alter her opinion.  The second sessions patient cancels so Jo offers to be regressed/hypnotised as long as she can (tape)record the session for her notes. 
Jo proves to be very susceptible and regresses to the time of King Henry 11 and King john.  she is Matilda De Braose, Lady of Hay, she is married to brutal William and it is the 12th century.  She is in love with Richard De Clare but the young (yet to be King) John is in love with her although he is yet a child/youth.  As he gets older his desire for her increases and as she spurns his affections his anger mounts and he is going to make her & her children suffer. 
Jo becomes addicted to regression as she wants to find out what happens to herself as Matilda & her family - she suffers the pain of watching the slaughter of the Welsh prince and his family at the hands of her husband and her own eventual slow death.  she wakes as Jo with cut and bruised hands from having scratched the castle walls when in regression.  She hears the cries of a baby her baby from the past as do her present day neighbours.
Her regressions start to affect her present day relationships, her fated love for Nick and his brother Sam, himself a hypnotherapist.  But it isn't just Jo who has regressed into that time and  took on the life of another, those close around her also regress as they carry on the fight for the love of Lady Matilda   Some are out to make her pay for her infidelities and others to atone for the wrong they caused her.
It is an addictive book and a historical love story.  The past is atmospherically re-created and I preferred that to the present day.  This is the first of this authors I have read.  I would probably try another sometime but not yet.   also wondered Is this where Kate Mosse got her ideas for her books?

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