Book Review: Hild by Nicola Griffith

CT hild-cover.jpg Title: Hild
Author: Nicola Griffith
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, FSG Originals
ISBN: 978-0374280871
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 560
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

“Hild” was a book that just appeared from nowhere. I had heard of it and somehow wanted to read it, as happens with most books. The story is set in seventh-century Britain and that caused for some difficulty to get into it to begin with, however once you get over the inhibition, the plot takes you over and that is enough.

“Hild” is a fantasy. It is historical. It is literary. It is everything rolled into one book. Hild can read and see the future. She is born in the times of turmoil. Everything is haywire and no one knows what is going to happen next. The book is fast paced and as a reader one does not know what is going to happen next. The funny thing is that I could not even predict what is going to happen. It is that good.

So, Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She is living in the middle Ages. She is the child that will become Saint Hilda of Whitby. The novel is about the person she might have been in her early years. Hild’s father, Prince Hereric is the nephew to King Edwin of Northumbria. He was poisoned. Hild was brought up in the court of King Edwin and Griffith traces her story from Hild to Saint Hilda.

The writing is stark and Griffith makes no bones about anything. There is struggle for power on every single page in the book and this is where Hild has to come to be and become the person she wants to be. There is a lot happening throughout the book – politics – which is at the core of the book, there is magic and then there are choices which Hild has to make at the end of it all.

I found the book very riveting and extremely charming, given the setting. Griffith brings to life one of the historical characters that people maybe are not aware of too much or do not talk of. It is a book if you love knowing more about historical characters and even if you don’t, then this is a good place to start with.

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