Godiva: A Novel - Nicole Galland I chose to DNF at 23% after the following infuriating quotes pushed me over the "to finish or not to finish" edge:"It is every man's nature to take advantage of a woman's frailty. But most of us are able to resist the impulse when required."and "Barren women have no [sexual] appetites."To those I say:I utterly reject that all women are inherently frail and up for ravishment, as well as that "all men are just animals who have no brains aside from SEX. How flattering." (That quote is from the lovely Renae because I am too frustrated to formulate real thoughts.) Am I supposed to like these characters? Root for them? Because any chance that Sweyn would remain anything but a source of aggravation ended as soon as those quotes came into the story.Also: the idea that women unable to bear children are free from sexual urges? NO. Sexuality has nothing to do with the ability to bear children. None. Whatsoever.A valid point may be made that the author may be trying to convey typical thoughts from the first millennium (the novel is set in 1040's England), but to my mind there are better ways to do such a thing without being anachronistic. Godiva herself could have made more of an effort to refute both claims, but abandons the effort to focus instead on a pseudo-seduction of the man who uttered both.Godiva does focus on some very fascinating and forgotten characters in English history (King Edward the Confessor, Godwin, Earl of Wessex), but they alone are not enough to convince me to go on. I have Google for that. I've read Galland before, but this particular story was a wash for me. I wasn't a huge fan of The Fool's Tale, but it didn't irritate me to the point of not finishing.Besides the quotes, I had a few issues that rapidly became more and more problematic as the novel went on. Godiva herself tried to be an empowered woman who uses her sexuality to further her husband's and friend's goals, but it came off as uncomfortable and far too obvious a ploy. There is no subtlety to be found in her machinations around the court's noblemen. Her friend from childhood with royal ties and a bleeding heart for the poor managed to be too sanctimonious, even for an Abbess. Godiva's husband's approval of Godiva's use of flirtation and manipulation didn't ring true for the attitude of a powerful English nobleman.No rating because I didn't make to 50% (where I usually feel a rating is warranted even for a DNF). This was just not for me.