It took me a while, I came back to it after leaving it, but I finished Hild yesterday morning. And, to my surprise, Hild was a real person, I somehow missed that in my lead up to reading the book. Nicola Griffith did a fantastic job with creating the Medieval world in which Hild lived and although much of the story she wrote is fiction, Hild was a real person upon which she based the story.
Much can be said of writing a book that takes place in a time period where we know little of who the women who lived were, but I just loved the story. Hild lives a life that is difficult, but also amazing. She rises to become the seer to a king, she travels with the court, and she has influence in the decisions made. In addition, she is a fascinating character, mature beyond her years (maybe because she had to be) and she cares for the people who often don’t matter to kings as they maneuver for more power.
I read the kindle version loaned by my library and only have one highlight, but it says it all to me about the way Hild thinks and what her life is like.
Happy, she thought again, though it was more than that. They weren’t afraid. No drunken fighting and boasting. No gesiths pulling wealh onto their laps or persuading the dogs to fight. No thundering horses or sudden deadly silence as the king smiled that smile at someone. No Woden priests with their omens or Christ priests frowning and chastising. She’d even seen her mother deigning to talk to Gwladus. Was this what it was to live an ordinary life? Orderly, peaceful, calm. Work, yes, endless as rain, but also warmth and plenty and safety. (loc 7387)