In her essay on Jacquetta, Philippa Gregory uses original documents, archaeology, and histories of myth and witchcraft to create the first-ever biography of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to become the first lady at two rival courts. David Baldwin, established authority on the Wars of the Roses, tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a king of England for love. And Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes of Margaret Beaufort, the almost-unknown matriarch of the House of Tudor.
Beautifully illustrated throughout with rare portraits and source materials, The Women of the Cousins' War offers fascinating insights into the inspirations behind Philippa Gregory's fiction and will appeal to all with an interest in this epic period.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-07-11
- Reviewer: Staff
This tripartite account treats three formidable women for their roles in the dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Bestselling historical novelist Gregory tells the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Henry VIII's great-grandmother. The staunch Lancastrian made her peace with Yorkist Edward IV when he seized power and saw her fortunes soar after he married her daughter Elizabeth Woodville. But later her second husband and their son were executed by the rebel leader earl of Warwick, who tried Jacquetta for witchcraft. University of Leicester historian Baldwin relates the life of Jacquetta's plucky daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VIII's grandmother, who did her utmost to secure the throne for her son Edward and may have been involved in a rebellion against son-in-law Henry. British historian Jones recounts the story of Margaret Beaufort, a formidable plotter whose personal piety never interfered with her ambition for her son—who became Henry VII despite a tenuous claim to the throne. Although this collection is often repetitious and lacks a consistent voice and cohesive overview on the origins of the Wars of the Roses, it's an engrossing introduction to three courageous matriarchs who shaped English history. Illus.; maps. (Sept.)