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Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings [Hardcover]

Amy Licence
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

3 April 2014
Known to be proud, regal and beautiful, Cecily Neville was born in the year of the great English victory at Agincourt and survived long enough to witness the arrival of the future Henry VIII, her great-grandson. Her life spanned most of the fifteenth century. Cecily s marriage to Richard, Duke of York, was successful, even happy, and she travelled with him wherever his career dictated, bearing his children in England, Ireland and France, including the future Edward IV and Richard III. What was the substance behind her claim to be queen by right ? Would she indeed have made a good queen during these turbulent times? One of a huge family herself, Cecily would see two of her sons become kings of England but the struggles that tore apart the Houses of Lancaster and York also turned brother against brother. Cecily s life cannot have been easy. Images of her dripping in jewels and holding her own alternative court might belie the terrible heartache of seeing her descendants destroy each other. In attempting to be the family peacemaker, she frequently had to make heart-wrenching choices, yet these did not destroy her. She battled on, outliving her husband, friends, rivals and most of her children, to become one of the era s great survivors.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (3 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445621231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445621234
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy Licence is an historian of women's lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth.

Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The English Review, The Huffington Post, The London Magazine and other places. She has been interviewed regularly for BBC radio and made her TV debut in "The Real White Queen and her Rivals" documentary, for BBC2, in 2013.

Her website can be found at amylicence.weebly.com

She is the mother of two boys and lives in Canterbury.

Product Description

Review

'Amy Licence has given us an insight into the life of a prominent and significant leader during the Wars of the Roses. That she was a woman explains why this glance is so rare and so valuable. As mother of the three sons of York Edward, George and Richard she helped put two kings of England on the throne. As grandmother of the Princes in the Tower she was present at the greatest mystery in English history. Nicknamed the Rose of Raby for her famous beauty, she was the loving and loyal wife of the York lord who started the Wars of the Roses. This is a considered and scholarly account of the matriarch of the House of York.' --Philippa Gregory

'A long overdue biography of one of the most dramatic medieval heroines vivid, very readable, and wonderfully detailed' --Sarah Gristwood, author of Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

'We have long needed a full-length biography of one of England s most famous medieval queens, the story of whose life spans the entire tumult of the Wars of the Roses. Licence s work is a readable and engaging portrait of life at the centre of power during a remarkable age, filled with detail that brings Cecily Neville and her age to life.' --Chris Skidmore, author of Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors

'A long overdue biography of one of the most dramatic medieval heroines vivid, very readable, and wonderfully detailed' --Sarah Gristwood, author of Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

'We have long needed a full-length biography of one of England s most famous medieval queens, the story of whose life spans the entire tumult of the Wars of the Roses. Licence s work is a readable and engaging portrait of life at the centre of power during a remarkable age, filled with detail that brings Cecily Neville and her age to life.' --Chris Skidmore, author of Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors

About the Author

Amy Licence is the author of Royal Babies: A History 1066 2013, In Bed With the Tudors: The Sex Lives of a Dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I ( What really went on in Henry VIII s bedroom The Daily Express), Elizabeth of York: The Forgotten Tudor Queen and Anne Neville: Richard III s Tragic Queen ( A fascinating story, well told The Good Book Guide), all published by Amberley. She lives in Canterbury.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cecily Neville 20 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent!!! Anyone interested in Richard the Third,Wars of the Roses etc will find this book about Richards mother very interesting.Because of this book, I took a trip up to Yorkshire and visited Richmond Castle,Castle Barnard Castle, Middleham Castle,even paying visits to Fountains and Rievaulx Abbies. and followed in her footsteps all over the area. Unfortunately, I did not go to Raby Castle which I now regret very much. I called in at Fotheringhay but there is only a grass mound where the castle used to be. I will pay another visit however and have a proper look round the church in this lovely village. Treat yourself and read this wonderful book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "And the white rose weeps..." (Tennyson). 25 April 2014
Format:Hardcover
Cecily Neville ...'Proud Cis', 'The Rose of Raby', 'Queen by Right'. Anyone who studies that maelstrom of English history commonly referred to as the 'Wars of the Roses' will have encountered this remarkable woman, perhaps just accepting that she is there as a continual presence or perhaps wondering more deeply about a lady who, in her lifetime saw two of her sons crowned, a grandson usurped and a grand-daughter married to the first Tudor king.

Although she has been the subject of much historical fiction, Cecily Neville has long warranted a dedicated biography. Ms. Licence has finally addressed this with a skilfully and elegantly written account. Where gaps appear in Cecily's story the author has cleverly interwoven contemporary information which provides the reader with a source of reference without detracting from the flow of the narrative.

I chose the Tennyson quotation as a heading because I came away from the book with an over-powering sense of Cecily's tribulations. This was a person of flesh and blood who had lost a husband, lived through the deaths of four sons and the possible murder of a grandson....not a creature of stone but an actual being the author has breathed life into. In my opinion this is the finest book yet to come from the pen of Ms. Licence. I also thought a quotation appropriate for there are many in the book which further demonstrates the authors literary background and they are all a pleasure to read.

A final word on the finished product ... Amberley have again produced a book which is beautiful to look at and hold (sorry to any Kindle purchasers). As is usual it is beautifully illustrated and makes a fine edition to any historical bookshelf.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Medieval matriarch's amazing life 14 April 2014
By EleanorB TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Elusive, but highly important" is the core description by Amy Licence of this key figure from the Wars of the Roses: the wife of Richard of York, whose life spanned a huge chunk of the fifteenth century and who, but for a quirk of fate might have been Queen of England. Instead, she was the mother of kings: mother indeed of the three Suns of York - Edward the Fourth, George of Clarence and Richard Duke of Gloucester (eventually Richard the Third)- mother in law of Elizabeth Woodville and of both Isabel and Anne Neville, daughters of Warwick the Kingmaker. We also know that she had a tricky relationship with Margaret of Anjou whose mentally challenged husband was at the heart of so much strife and misery in England at this time.

Could any woman have been more at the heart of this Game of Thrones? We know, from Amy Licence's typically meticulous research, the details of her birth, marriage and death. We know that she produced thirteen children in sixteen years, all the while travelling continously between the various York castles and manors in England, Ireland and France as her duty as Duchess of York meant she accompanied her lord and husband throughout his career, with all the risks and challenges implicit in medieval life at all levels of society. It is also clear that at the end her long life, she was significantly wealthy and her detailed will shows that she bequeathed many goods, and that much went to people who had served her well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Informative Biography 14 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellently researched and very well written. Even by today's standards of life expectancy, Cecily Neville was an extremely long lived matriarch. To live into her eightieth year in the fifteenth century was something of an achievement. However, her longevity meant that she survived all but one of her own children, and had the misfortune of also seeing all but one of her sons who reached maturity die violent deaths. The author is to be congratulated on producing a very readable and long overdue biography of a remarkable woman. I found the chapters covering Cecily's time spent in France during the 1430s and 1440s especially informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read 8 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover
Simply marvellous! Amy Licence brings vividly to life the mother of Edward IV and Richard III in the pages if this wonderful book. Using primary sources - about Cecily and about women in the 15th Century - Cecily's relationships and experiences are presented in one eminently readable book
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, simply stunning. 18 April 2014
By Kooks
Format:Hardcover
Wow, oh wow. Another stunner from Amy Licence.

Cecily Neville certainly led a life which had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster, however she kept her dignity and regal bearing, which was necessary bearing in mind the turmoil which was to come!

I was very lucky to receive an ARC, and I will treasure this. For a woman who is a direct ancestor of our current Queen, this book brings the world of the Cousins War to a level that even I can understand, and leaves the reader wanting to know more.

Painstakingly researched, written eloquently immersing the reader into an uncertain world where their very life depended on which royal house they fought for.

Brilliant, simply brilliant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes for great bedtime/train reading
Well written and researched but often not really specifically about Cecily Neville. There's a limit as to what you can do with the sources available and I appreciate this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Liz Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good. Still reading it now for the third time
Very good. Still reading it now for the third time.
Published 1 month ago by Jamie Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Vastly important woman. Not as well known as she should be.
Great book abut one of the less well known women from history, Mother of 2 kings and a long and extraordinary life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Christine A. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
A very different perspective on Cecily Neville - I ended up by admiring her rather than disliking her as I had before. Beautifully written.
Published 2 months ago by Muriel Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed
A good study of an important woman about whom not much detail is known. However, it is marred by an appalling number of factual errors. Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. T. Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars Cecily Neville
Clearly written and fascinating, Although a lot of detail was rather vague Amy built a strong personality around her heroine. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs SA Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on a quite remarkable lady
I thoroughly enjoyed this book on Cecily Neville, wife of Richard Duke of York an d mother of Edward IV and Richard III of England. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Steven Leppard
3.0 out of 5 stars historical non-fiction.
Normally I read Historical fiction but I enjoy 13/14th century history.I have a fair understanding of this period. I found the book heavy going - too much detail and background. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. M. M. Schueler
5.0 out of 5 stars Cecily neville
This is a thoroughly interesting book for anyone interested in the period. It comes across well considering Cecily's previously much maligned reputation. Read more
Published 4 months ago by david alan hanchard
3.0 out of 5 stars Dynast Matriarch
A carefully crafted biography of a relatively invisible medieval aristocrat built on good historical research by the authoress. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jennifer bartram
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