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Publisher's Summary

The book that wowed a generation, Lady of Hay has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Jo Clifford, successful journalist, is all set to debunk the idea of past-life regression in her next magazine series. But when she herself submits to a simple hypnotic session, she suddenly finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

As she learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her love for the handsome Richard de Clare and the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John, it becomes clear that Jo's past and present are hopelessly entwined and that, eight hundred years on, a story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to begin again…

©1986 Barbara Erskine (P)2013 HarperCollins Audio

Critic Reviews

"The author's storytelling talent is undeniable. Barbara Erskine can make us feel the cold, smell the filth and experience some of the fear of the power of evil men." (The Times)
"Unusual, intriguing, cleverly handled and gripping." (The Good Book Guide)
"Fascinating, absorbing, original – all such praise comes easily when describing Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay. But perhaps the most suitable world is hypnotic." (SHE)

What members say

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  • Maggie
  • 07-16-14

If only it weren't abridged...

Any additional comments?

This was the first Barbara Erskine book I read, years ago, and I think her best. Since then the stories gradually became a bit formulaic, but I always returned to re-read this. When I first joined Audible, it was also the first I listened to, and Isla Blair reads it beautifully and had me hooked on audiobooks from around chapter 2. Maude, or Matilda, de Broase is a fascinating character and Erskine's interpretation of her family's relationship with King John is compelling. It's very much a novel but is based on fact - these people did live and much of their lives is documented. The result is a very strong, well headstrong, but 3 dimensional character. I've just listened again, and it is a book you can return to and still enjoy fresh. A fascinating period in history, and the reincarnation aspect is dealt with well. So with 4 for story and 5 for narration, why 3 overall? Purely because it's abridged. I wish Isla Blair could also record the other Erskine book that (nearly) measures up to Lady of Hay, Kingdom of Shadows. It's not listed. But please, unabridged.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlotte
  • 08-05-15

Very disappointing abridged version of a great book.

This book suffered hugely from being abridged. Most of the wonderful historical discrimination of the medieval lives were cut. We were left with too much physical relationship descriptions. Sad because Barbara Erskine's books capture past times beautifully interwoven with modern. I've got all the other books which are unabridged and they are marvellous.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Galadriel
  • 05-20-16

Worst adaptation of an audio book I have ever heard

Surely if it really MUST be abridged (why...?) then it can be done so in a sympathetic manner. Why hoik out great swathes of historical description? One of Erskine's greatest gifts is of bringing the past back to life - something completely missing from this debacle.
No-one could believe in the breathy hysteric portrayed by Isla - she's supposed to be a tough go-getting journalist . And with all of the chopped out bits and the hysterical/erotic overtones would be more at home on the 'Erotic' list. I was almost ashamed when my husband came in the room at a particularly crass bit, I'm not a £2.00 bodice ripper lady.
I got halfway through and gave up.
Thanks for spoiling one of my favourite books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chiaracuddle
  • 10-03-15

Missed 'Abridged'

Isla Blair really needs to learn to pronounce Welsh if she's going to read a book with Welsh dialogue. This is a good story, but I really wish you had the full version! Don't like beloved stories with bits chopped out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs L.
  • 03-13-16

Worst book I've ever had from Audible.

Would you try another book written by Barbara Erskine or narrated by Isla Blair?

Only if it was unabridged

What was most disappointing about Barbara Erskine’s story?

This is the worst book I've ever had from Audible. It was too short, too confusing and I think half the book was missing. Was such a shame because I love Barbara Erskine books.

How could the performance have been better?

Please do not sell as abridged.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No I honestly hated it. It was a waste of money.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • gepocock
  • 07-27-17

Previously I loved this novel

This novel in paperback I loved and I consequently went on to read Erskine's other novels. But this was excruciating. The author read it as if it were Mills and Boon and jolly hockey sticks. For old time's sake I tried to persevere but I gave up.

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  • Kirstie L.
  • 02-28-17


This book is dated, the characters unlikeable and undergo unexplained personality changes as the book goes on! The story of Matilda is interesting but the rest dismal!

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  • Katherine
  • 12-03-13

Wonderful book I loved listening to it.

Would you consider the audio edition of Lady of Hay to be better than the print version?

I read the "Lady of Hay" many years ago and loved it then but listening to it was a vast improvement.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lady of Hay?

It has a very happy ending and I loved this as so many of Barbara's books don't.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I just enjoyed listening to the book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Most of the book is very sad.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to the next Barbara Erskine book in the Spring.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • julie
  • 09-19-13

Lady of hay

What did you like most about Lady of Hay?

Love this book so much that I had read it on kindle but just had to listen to it on here love old time books

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MOP
  • 08-04-15

not good

she is histeric all the time; story us weak and uninterestung sorry ..... .. .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful