Reviews of Effigy of the Cloven Hoof by Readers

As I actually live in the area described, I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through the local countryside.  Ellen Foster did her research well and I admire her perseverance.  It was great fun to have all the local allusions.  I also liked her desire to make Lady Apollonia a feminist in medieval clothing.  It was not an easy thing to be!  I thoroughly enjoyed Wilfred de Guelf’s head ending up with Abbot Harold.  The book as a whole was an excellent background read for the history of 1400. I  admired Ellen’s attention to detail and her nicely crafted plot.

A British Reader


In Effigy of the Cloven Hoof, Ellen Foster has written a novel combining intriguing mystery with a fascinating portrayal of life in southwest England in the year 1400.  People, places and events become very real to the reader.  Almost every place where the action occurs – and there are many – still exists in Somersetshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.  The author has thoughtfully provided a map of those counties so the reader can find the locations described in the book.  She has also included a glossary of medieval terms used in the story.

The tale concerns knights, ladies of the manor and their servants, plus all kinds of villagers.

Lady Apollonia of Aust, the main character, has survived good times and bad to become the head of vast estates and wealth.  In her later years she becomes a celibate widow in complete control of her holdings, an unusual circumstance for a woman of her era.

The novel opens with a raging storm on the banks of the Severn River in Gloucestershire.  A tidal bore on the Severn leaves on the lady’s lands dead bodies and the savagely decapitated cadaver of an ancient adversary of Apollonia’s.  From there the plot wends its way through various areas of Wales and southwest England, weaving a tale full of mysterious people and events.

When reading the book I became so captivated by the story that I forgot to watch the clock and missed going to a program I had planned to attend.

Mary Henrichs


The accuracy of the underlying history, the transcendent development of characters, and the elegant flow of the narrative make reading “Effigy of the Cloven Hoof” a great experience.  Major historical figures such as Chaucer and Julian of Norwich are woven seamlessly into the story to add historical ambiance.  The highly compelling development of the mystery and the uncovering of the revelation make the book hard to put down.  Lady Apollonia is a fascinating character and I hope to encounter her again in a sequel to this very readable and intelligent book.

Nancy Becker


I can’t remember when I have been
entertained and simultaneously educated
as I was by reading Effigy !! The story line
was very interesting and the history lessons
were seamlessly interwoven. A rare feat and
one that I can’t help but admire. A large

Bob Rodine

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