Dec 1, 2015

Australia Days Guest Post: Lady Godiva: Superhero by Eliza Redgold! & Giveaway

Lady Godiva: Superhero

This post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and unashamed romantic. Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released by St Martin’s Press, New York in 2015.

Hawk high I lifted my head. No shame now. Only pride in being the lady of such a people. My Saxon people, who loved justice, had observed a greater law. Not a law handed down from above but a law risen up from their hearts.

Another gust of wind lifted the veil of my hair. This time no fear pricked my skin, no trepidation trickled down my spine … In a surge of elation I lifted my arms into wings, my hair a banner unfurled.

Quote from NAKED

Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman. We might think superheroes are a recent invention. Long before Batman donned his mask, Superman took to the skies, or Wonder Woman put us all in a spin there was: Godiva.

The legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry covered only by her long, flowing hair, has lasted for centuries. But does she make superhero status?

Hold on to your cape. All (and I mean all) shall be revealed.

Godiva: Daring Do-Gooder

Lady Godiva was an eleventh century do-gooder of the most daring kind. So the story goes, she begged her husband, Lord Leofric of Mercia, to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if they were forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. 

Some historians call the ride a myth, but there’s no doubt that Lady Godiva was a real person called Countess Godgyfu who lived in eleventh-century England. Ancient records also reveal Godiva was a genuine philanthropist. She supported monasteries, built abbeys and churches, and aided the poor. The original cathedral in Coventry was founded by Lady Godiva.

Godiva’s Secret Super-Powers

Do you remember where Wonder Woman came from? She hails from Paradise Island, inhabited by ageless Amazons. The Amazon Princess Diana visits earth and become Diana Prince. When danger or injustice threatens, Diana releases her super powers. In a swirl she becomes Wonder Woman, with magical skills of strength, protection and insight, provided by her golden belt, bullet-deflecting bracelets and golden lasso. In the original TV transformation sequence, the camera focuses on Diana Prince’s hair falling loose as she transitions to Wonder Woman.

Similar mythology swirls around Godiva. Just like superheroes Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) Superman (Clark Kent) and Batman (Bruce Wayne) Godiva’s true identity acquired an earthly counterpart. In ancient history Godiva’s tale was connected to Greek and Celtic myths, including myth surrounding a goddess known as Goda. As her story gained vogue in the Middle Ages Goda’s tale became intertwined with the real and genuinely philanthropic Countess Godgyfu. 

Godiva’s story also became linked to St Agnes. The beautiful Agnes was forced to walk naked through the town as a punishment for refusing to give up her faith. Agnes’s hair miraculously grew long enough to cover her, and such a bright angelic light surrounded her that no man could see her. The stories of Goda, St Agnes and Godiva are clearly of the same supernatural family.

Godiva: The Original Caped Crusader

Forget Batman’s hood, Superman’s cape or Wonder Woman’s leotard. Forget having to find the Batcave or a phone box. With only a living cape of supernaturally long locks to cover her, Godiva must take the prize for most awesome adventurer’s attire. 
While riding nude is something many 21st century women might baulk at, even for charity - calendar girls aside, Lady Godiva certainly deserves credit as a heroine. In a single leap, Godiva’s ride takes her into a higher dimension. Her courage continues to inspire, her tale to be told, even after a thousand years.

We Need another Superhero 

The legend of Lady Godiva has stood the test of time. Larger than life, she meets the essential elements of superhero-status as a do-gooder, supernaturally connected, and a crusader. 
Godiva is more than a naked lady. Like the best superheroes, Godiva has always answered our call, and rides again.

Eliza Redgold’s NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva reclaims Godiva as a heroine for today. In her academic work as Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd she has researched Lady Godiva in history and popularculture.

NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva is available in all good bookstores and online.

Follow Eliza Redgold on 

Twitter: @ElizaRedgold 

or subscribe to her newsletter at

Eliza Redgold: Biography

ELIZA REDGOLD is an author, academic and unashamed romantic. She writes historical fiction (St Martin’s Press) and romance (Harlequin).

NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released internationally by St Martin’s Press


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a paperback copy of Naked via The Bookdepository. Good luck!


  1. I know a little bit about Godiva, so the book sounds like an interesting read. Always enjoy a new spin on a historical story.

    1. The book is amazing, a really great story and beautifully written.

  2. Hermione Granger is my literary heroine!

  3. I don't know much about Godiva, so I bet I would learn a lot from this book.

  4. I've heard of Lady Godiva and what she did, but I don't really know what led to that journey through Coventry. It would be really interesting to find out through a fiction book.

  5. I know about the connection between Godiva & St Agnes but I completely agree, we can never have enough super heroes! I'm not sure if I have a literary hero/ine but in real life Jacques Cousteau & David Attenborough would probably be top of my list!

  6. I know about Lady Godive but reading this I think the book would be a great read.

  7. I have to say George RR Martin, as I love his writing and wish I could create such a world!!

  8. I think i have to name Terry Pratchett as my literary hero. He was an incredible writer.

  9. This sounds great indeed. I have a lot of literary heroes, but I'd say Hermann Hesse.

  10. i dont know this book but i will like to read it :)

  11. I think this book looks and sounds fantastic! This isn't a time period/historical figure that I know much about. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Stephen King is my literary hero. His books always have me neglecting housework and getting lost in There are a few of his books that I read over and over.

  13. I think perhaps Diana Gabaldon is my literary hero ... she changed my whole world! outlander was the first book I read (outside of school)

  14. I loved reading about everyone's superheroes! I hope you all enjoy meeting Godiva. Thanks for having me to visit, Suze.

  15. Literary Hero as in character or author? Character would be one of Jodi Ellen Malpas' leading men; Author would be Stephen King :)

  16. I would have to say that J.R.R. Tolkien is my literary hero , he created such a complex and rich world with such amazing characters.

  17. I really love to read this book -Mary Rose Benipayo

  18. I certainly learned some new things about the Lady Godiva mythlore.

  19. My literary hero is defo Lucinda Riley. God, that woman sure can write! Love all her books.

  20. Actually that's the first time I've heard of Lady Godiva but the story sounds really good and like something I would enjoy. Thank you for the giveaway :)

  21. I like Jack Reacher from the lee Child books.


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