I just finished reading “Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda and the Cult of Matrons” by Phillip Shaw. I found his work in determining the origin of the name Hreda very good. Indeed, I now agree with him in linking the name with Old English hræd “swift.” However, he also puts forth the idea that Hreda may be linked to a name for the Goths, Hreðgotan, and proposes she may have derived her name from them. Even he admits this is a stretch though. His attempts to find the origins of the name Éostre are not nearly as interesting, but just as convincing. He links Éostre with an Old English cognate to Old Norse austr “the East” that has been lost to us; *éastor.
I do agree with him we should probably not seek to find functions for these goddesses. However, he seeks to localize both goddesses, viewing them much as we do the matronae. He posits a Kentish origin, assuming that Bede got his month names from a Kentish document. He also thinks that the German month names Ostermonat and Redmanot were carried to Germany and France by Anglo-Saxon missionaries, and uses this to back his claim that they were local goddesses. He makes no etymological study of the month names to prove this point. This is
something I would expect a scholar to do. I would expect proof that they are indeed borrowings from Old English. I personally find it more likely that these German month names are native, and that Éostre and Hreda were more widely worshiped than he would have us think.
His section on the matronae is disappointing. It is a mere 12 pages long, and does not go into any detail. His conclusions at the end of these 12 pages is that the matronae were local mother goddesses, and often named for a tribe. The whole point of his section on the matronae is to bolster his claims of Éostre and Hreda being local goddesses.
Overall, it is not a bad book, and I would recommend it to anyone. However, do not expect it to give much detail on the matronae despite its title. The sections on Éostre and Hreda though are worth it, even if I do not agree with all of his claims.