Many are familiar with
the story of the much-married King Henry VIII of England and the
celebrated reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I. But it is often forgotten
that the life of the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth of York, Henry’s
mother and Elizabeth’s grandmother, spanned one of England’s most
dramatic and perilous periods. Now New York Times bestselling
author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern
biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the
realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline.
Her birth was greeted with as much pomp and ceremony as that of a male
heir. The first child of King Edward IV, Elizabeth enjoyed all the
glittering trappings of royalty. But after the death of her father; the
disappearance and probable murder of her brothers—the Princes in the
Tower; and the usurpation of the throne by her calculating uncle Richard
III, Elizabeth found her world turned upside-down: She and her siblings
were declared bastards.
As Richard’s wife, Anne Neville, was
dying, there were murmurs that the king sought to marry his niece
Elizabeth, knowing that most people believed her to be England’s
rightful queen. Weir addresses Elizabeth’s possible role in this and her
covert support for Henry Tudor, the exiled pretender who defeated
Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and was crowned Henry VII, first
sovereign of the House of Tudor. Elizabeth’s subsequent marriage to
Henry united the houses of York and Lancaster and signaled the end of
the Wars of the Roses. For centuries historians have asserted that, as
queen, she was kept under Henry’s firm grasp, but Weir shows that
Elizabeth proved to be a model consort—pious and generous—who enjoyed
the confidence of her husband, exerted a tangible and beneficial
influence, and was revered by her son, the future King Henry VIII.
Drawing from a rich trove of historical records, Weir gives a long
overdue and much-deserved look at this unforgettable princess whose line
descends to today’s British monarch—a woman who overcame tragedy and
danger to become one of England’s most beloved consorts.–Description from Goodreads
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hours upon hours of research is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of what to say about this book. Truly, there is no comparison to this work when it comes to the depth of information and logical and intelligent conclusions the author has put together. Other books on the subject stand down in shame.
This being said, I think whether or not you will enjoy this book is going to depend largely on why you are interested in reading it. If you are simply looking for a lightweight read for pleasure, this probably will not be for you. The author has gone to great lengths to ensure historical accuracy and meticulous detail recording.
If, however, you are looking to this book to teach you little known facts, uncover the life of this great woman of the past or study the Tudor way of life–then this is the first book that I would recommend.
Sometimes–reality is more exciting than fiction and I was greatly impressed by the lack of silly liberties. So much of the time biographies end up being more fiction than truth, and I really felt this book was a rare exception to that rule.
Further reasons I liked it:
1. Taught me things I didn’t know.
2. Kept me entertained because of beautiful writing and excellent arrangement.
3. Made me want to learn more about the other things mentioned aside from Elizabeth of York.
I would definitely recommend this to others, particularly if you have an interest in Tudor history or the general time period. This is a classy book that deserves to be read and appreciated.
This review is based on a digital ARC provided by the publisher through Netgalley.
- The six Wives of Henry VIII – Alison Weir (tudorbooksreview.wordpress.com)
- Key Stage 3 History: The Tudors: 1: An Introduction to my Family (oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk)
- The History of England : The Tudors – Peter Ackroyd (tudorbooksreview.wordpress.com)
- Tudor: The Family Story – Legacy with Leanda de Lisle (nerdalicious.com.au)
- Does Fiction Impact Fact? (antiwhitequeen.wordpress.com)
- Six Tales of Tudor England (abookbird.wordpress.com)