13 June 2022

The Wistful and the Good (Cuthbert’s People, Book 1) By G. M. Baker Blog Tour! @mbakeranalecta @maryanneyarde@coffeepotbookclub #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub


Book Title: The Wistful and the Good

Series: Cuthbert’s People

Author: G. M. Baker

Publication Date: 4th April 2022

Publisher: Stories All the Way Down

Page Length: 341 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

The mighty are undone by pride, the bold by folly, and the good by wistfulness. 


Elswyth's mother was a slave, but her father is a thegn, and Drefan, the man she is to marry, is an ealdorman's son. But though Elswyth is content with the match, and waits only for Drefan to notice that she has come to womanhood, still she finds herself gazing seaward, full of wistful longing.

From the sea come Norse traders, bringing wealth, friendship, and tales of distant lands. But in this year of grace 793 the sea has brought a great Viking raid that has devastated the rich monastery of Lindisfarne. Norse are suddenly not welcome in Northumbria, and when Elswyth spots a Norse ship approaching the beach in her village of Twyford, her father fears a Viking raid.

But the ship brings trouble of a different kind. Leif has visited Twyford many times as a boy, accompanying his father on his voyages. But now he returns in command of his father's ship and desperate to raise his father's ransom by selling a cargo of Christian holy books. Elswyth is fascinated by the books and the pictures they contain of warm and distant lands. 

But when Drefan arrives, investigating reports of the sighting of a Norse ship, Elswyth must try to keep the peace between Drefan and Leif, and tame the wistfulness of her restless heart.  

Universal Link: http://mybook.to/thewistfulandthegood

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09WZCVHBH

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09WZCVHBH

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B09WZCVHBH

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wistful-and-the-good-g-m-baker/1141306742

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-wistful-and-the-good

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-wistful-and-the-good/id1617126878

Laterpress: https://gmbaker.laterpress.com/

The Wistful and the Good – Excerpt 4

Elswyth started to follow Drefan toward the beach and the ship, but Edith called her back.

“What is it, Mother?”

“Wait a moment.” Edith put her hand on Elswyth’s arm and they watched as the men walked off together toward the beach, trying to sort out among themselves who should lead and who should follow, who was guide and who guest, who lowly and who high, and who among the high wished to have whom among the lowly to speak with. It was odd to watch how they spread out across the compound as they tried to sort themselves out, and then the process of deference and urging by which they worked out who should go before another when they came to the place where the path narrowed. 

When they were well out of earshot, Edith turned to Elswyth. “Have you lain with Drefan already?” 

Elswyth’s face registered surprise rather than guilt. “No. Why?”

“He kissed you like you had.”

“We haven’t. I’m not lying.”

“I believe you. You looked startled.”

Elswyth frowned. “He didn’t have to do it like that, in front of everybody.”

“He hasn’t kissed you before?”

“On the cheek. On the forehead. On the top of my head.”

“Those don’t count.”


“So that was your first kiss?”

Elswyth’s eyes glistened at the question. “I suppose,” she said, defiantly.

Edith came and hugged her. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It shouldn’t have been like that. But then you kissed him back.”

“I wanted him to look at me instead of Leif.”

“I saw that. I told him he had nothing to be jealous about. I told him you and Leif are like brother and sister.”

Elswyth stepped back from her. “We are not,” she said. “Just because you treat him like a son does not make him my brother.”

“You don’t mean?”

“Don’t mean what?”

“You’re not…”

“You’re as bad as Granny.”

“What did she say?”

“Never mind. It doesn’t matter. I like hearing sailor’s stories. I like looking at the books. That’s all.”

“You’re not upset with Drefan, then?”

“The only reason I was ever upset with Drefan was because he kept treating me like a little girl.”

“You got your wish then.”

“Yes…” But here Elswyth grew wistful. “I just wish… What was the first time Father kissed you?”

Edith smiled. “Pentecost, after the feast. He came into the serving kitchen looking for more wine. He was very drunk. I was whipping cream for the pudding. He stumbled and I caught him. We looked at each other—we’d been looking at each other a lot since Christmas—and I saw a look in his eye so I tilted my head back a little and he took the hint.”

“What was it like?”

“Sour. He was very drunk. And then he burped.”

Elswyth giggled. “Oh, Mother, that’s awful. At least Drefan was sober. I just wish it hadn’t been…”

“I know. I’m sorry about that. But at least you know he really wants you now.”

“I suppose. You don’t think he just did it because…”

“Because Leif was there? No. I’m sure not. Maybe it took Leif being there to make him want to show it.”

“You think so?”

“Of course. Oh child, they all want you. You know that. I was that girl once. I remember.”

“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t.”

“I know, believe me. It’s harder when you are a slave, and every man thinks he can have you.”

This clearly came as a shock to Elswyth. Edith watched her face work a moment. Elswyth knew, of course, what it was like for every man to want her. But every man on the manor knew well that he could not have her. It had not been so for Edith, and now, it seemed, Elswyth understood.

“How awful, Mother. You never told me.”

“Your father put a stop to it. I think maybe that is when he started to notice me. I mean, notice more than my figure and my face. He rescued me from under a plowboy behind a haystack. After that… Well, by autumn, I was under him behind a haystack.”

“Mother! The plowboy didn’t…”

“No. Your father didn’t give him the chance, thank God. I bit the plowboy’s lip and he boxed my ears for it and then your father pulled him off me and gave him a kicking. The wergild for assaulting a thegn’s kitchen slave isn’t much, but he didn’t have it, so your father made the plowboy sell himself into slavery to raise it. After that, the rest left me alone. But darling, you understand, don’t you? No one would ever lay a hand on an ealdorman’s wife, nor any of her kin. No matter what might happen to your father... When you are Drefan’s wife, your sisters will be safe.”


G. M. Baker has been a newspaper reporter, managing editor, freelance writer, magazine contributor, PhD candidate, seminarian, teacher, desktop publisher, programmer, technical writer, department manager, communications director, non-fiction author, speaker, consultant, and grandfather. He has published stories in The Atlantic Advocate, Fantasy Book, New England’s Coastal Journal, Our Family, Storyteller, Solander, and Dappled Things. There was nothing much left to do but become a novelist. 

Website: https://gmbaker.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mbakeranalecta

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gmbaker

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbakeranalecta/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/G-M-Baker/e/B09WZK7MD4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4259382.G_M_Baker

Substack Newsletter: https://gmbaker.substack.com


  1. Thank you so much for hosting today's tour stop for The Wistful and the Good.
    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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