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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE definitive biography but a tough read
I usually love Alison Weir's books and I was excited to read this one. However, it was hard going. Alison Weir has certainly demonstrated how much serious academic research she has put into this book, but that has been at the expense of its readability. I stuck with it but I must admit that I skipped over large parts of it. I think that this reflects that even after all...
Published 17 months ago by Henry H8

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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars May or may not, that is the question...
At what stage does biography become pointless? I would suggest that the answer to that question is when the historical record doesn't provide enough information to allow for any real insight into or knowledge of the subject. And that, in a nutshell, is why I have abandoned this book at the halfway point.

Elizabeth of York probably had a fascinating life. She...
Published 17 months ago by FictionFan


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Read !, 9 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Kindle Edition)
I have enjoyed all of Alison Weirs book and recommended them to other people countless times. Although I haven't finished reading Elizabeth of York I know that Alison Weir has done it it again, a fantastic book in every way. This is one author who has kept a constant high standard in her work, thank you Alison Weir, I already look forward to your next book, whatever it will be.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At times a rather tiring royal progress, 16 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Hardcover)
I am half way through this book and am,unfortunately, starting to struggle to continue. This is obviously a well researched book about an interesting period in history and in this respect the author must be commended. However with all historical factual books there is the problem of maintaining a pace to the book which holds the reader attention and eager for the next page. In this case we have some 500+ pages devoted to the lifetime of one character( as appossed to a historical period). Inevitably given the length we then become involved in repetitive minutae of detail which whilst interesting on the first telling become boring on the repetition. I am thinking here of the listing of the various items of apparel and household goods with attendant costs , real time and extrapolated which are given at various times during the royal progress. This could have been dealt with in a separate appendix without interrupting the flow of the narrative. I am a fan of Alison Weir and enjoy in particular her historical fiction so I decided to try her most recent factual effort. My views are of course entirely personal and I have no wish to be unfair to the author but I do feel that whenever it comes to factual historical works less can sometimes be more especially when dealing with relatively short periods of times and some items like costs can be separately compartmentalised in the interests of narrative flow.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historic details, 17 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Hardcover)
This book one would assume would be an enlightening read. Unfortunately it turned out to be a rather shallow history of Elizabeth of York. This is not necessarily the fault of the author,(who is good on court fetes,clothes and ceremony)but it is because so little is really known,or can be archived about her life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable history, 8 Sept. 2014
By 
Heather S "HB" (West Country, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent book. Factual history, but extremely readable as the story of Elizabeth of York is so packed with action. It is a long book, my only criticism in the early parts is that the text veers into the story of other parts of the family, then it appears the author remembers this is supposed to be about Elizabeth and makes a comment that this would have affected her. This is a tiny criticism as all the text does genuinely relate to Elizabeth's life. It is generally a well-researched and well-written book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing, 1 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Hardcover)
I was a little disappointed in this book, but at least I know why I hadn't seen much about this mysterious historical figure ... because so little is known about her.

As a result, the book is mostly supposition, and more about her husband King Henry, and other members of her family. I did like the plethora of period details, but I wouldn't class this as a biography, more of a general history of the whole 'Wars of the Roses' period.

Reviewed in exchange for a preview Kindle copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 12 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Paperback)
An excellent and easy to read biography. The research involved is outstanding. Thoroughly recommend it for lovers of medieval history.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Alison Weir, 'Elizabeth of York', 15 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Kindle Edition)
I write this having so far got only 15% of the way through the book - up to discussion of the alleged 'precontract' of marriage between Elizabeth's father Edward IV and Lady Eleanor Butler, on the basis of which Elizabeth and her siblings were declared illegitimate and her uncle Richard became king. So far I am not impressed. Weir writes well, and the book started off not too badly, with some solid research which enabled her to give a good impression of Elizabeth's early life. But as soon as she hits Richard III she falls back Thomas More's account, written three decades later, rather than negotiate the much more revealing complexities of the original documents. It's as though, having nailed her colours to the mast all those years back with her book on the Princes, she's stuck with the results and can't move forward.
Her scholarship is very patchy. Right at the start she repeats the old chestnuts that Cecily, duchess of York, was known to contemporaries as 'The Rose of Raby' and 'Proud Cis' - both these epithets were dreamed up in later ages (as was the term 'The Cousins' War', which she also falls for). She really could do with attending evening classes in medieval marriage law as well. For instance, she tells us many girls were beaten into submission regarding their marriages - no reference for this statement, and not surprisingly, because such brute force would have rendered the marriage invalid! Her understanding of the subject is so poor that almost everything she has to say about the precontract question is wrong, viz:
1) A precontract was a promise to marry. Wrong. A precontract is a legal term referring to the prior marriage in a bigamy case.
2) Clandestine marriages were only recognised by the Church from the 14th century onwards. Wrong. It had always been the Church's position that the couple married each other, and it was only from the 13th century that they began to put pressure on people to marry publicly, before a priest, in order to avoid later disputes about whether the marriage had actually taken place - but clandestine marriages with no priest present continued to be legal.
3) A marriage was only valid if there were two witnesses. Wrong. This rule was only introduced in 1565. In the fifteenth century any exchange of vows, provided the words were adequate, would make a valid marriage. It was a good idea to have witnesses to a clandestine marriage in case your partner later tried to deny that it had ever taken place, but neither priest nor witnesses were necessary to render the marriage valid.
4) "If Elizabeth Wydeville had married Edward IV in good faith, not knowing that he was already under contract to another lady, her children could have been declared legitimate, and her marriage regularised, on Eleanor Butler's death in 1468." Wrong. Elizabeth Wydeville had also married Edward clandestinely, without issue of banns, and the Church ruled that this deprived a bride of that very protection because she had not shown good faith - ie she had made no effort to ensure there were no impediments by marrying publicly, in church, after the issue of banns (the purpose of which was to call for anyone who knew of an impediment to come forward) as the Church advised. It was actually worse than that because Edward and Elizabeth could not even have remarried after 1468 because the Church's rules banned adulterers from every marrying the women with whom they had polluted their previous marriages.
There are good articles in print on the subject of the Precontract by historians who are specialists in the history of canon law, and it's a pity Alison Weir didn't think she needed to read one of them. Actually, I'm not sure how much more of this book I can read because if it contains anything new to me I won't know whether to believe it.
Marie
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Queen's Daughter...without the witchcraft!, 23 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Hardcover)
Elizabeth of York; daughter, sister, niece, wife and mother to a King, she is possibly also the model for the 'Queen of Hearts' in a deck of playing cards; but until now she is one of the lesser known characters in the bloody and protracted conflict known as the Wars of the Roses.
This book tells her story; from growing up at the lecherous court of her father- Edward IV, to becoming 'a rose between two thorns' and a pawn in the battle for supremacy between her Uncle,- Richard III, and the future Henry VII. Although as the book makes clear, in chess, if you play your cards right [sorry I am mixing my metaphors] then pawns can become Queens. Her story ends just at the point that her son, the future Henry VIII is growing up and so this account squeezes in some of the most colourful and most vilified characters in all of English history.

I bought this book just before going on holiday and read it twice, it's that good! [or my concentration is that bad] Not only is the 'cradle to the grave' account of Elizabeth well told but the notes and references add considerably to the main story.
What Alison Weir does particularly well is to try to give the reader an idea as to how events may have shaped the personality and character of Elizabeth and those whose lives she touched - Weir does this better than most other historical accounts covering a similar period (eg Winter King.) This becomes especially interesting when she deals with her son, the future Henry VIII and asks: was Henry VIII's search for 'Mrs. Right' influenced by the seemingly great match between his parents? And given that he only knew his mother as a relatively young child [with rose tinted lenses] was this search inevitably doomed to failure? Of course these are questions that we can only speculate about, but raising them raises the book above the run of the mill recounting of just dry facts.

If you are interested in this period of English history, (and right now, given what is turning up in Leicestershire car parks, who isn't?)then buy this book. You will probably not be disappointed!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you will return to, 7 Dec. 2013
By 
Tony (West Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Hardcover)
By my calculations this is Alison's sixteenth non-fiction history book and her experience shines through. Alison has been accused of writing `popular history' but there are worse insults levelled at authors. I particularly like the way we are drawn in to the excitement of her research. For example, Richard III was being dug up in a car park while she was writing about him - and there is the `startling' new connection to the mystery of the princes in the tower (which I shall leave for readers to find out about.)

It is also interesting to wonder how different things would have been if Elizabeth had been allowed to rule in her own right (like her granddaughter) as she was on of up to thirty people who arguably had a better claim on the throne than Henry VII. I did smile a few times at Alison's love of noting the very precise details from the records of the time. (We learn not only that 156 pounds of wax were used for Elizabeth's embalming but also the details of where it all went.)

This is an indulgent book but also one you will return to and learn more on a second reading. Elizabeth died young, on her birthday 11th February 1503, living long enough to see one son die but not long enough to see what became of her youngest boy - but of course that's another story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth of York, 4 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Elizabeth of York (Kindle Edition)
I had read the White Queen so I was curious about the person herself. The book reveals a very down to earth overlook of her as a person with details of her and those close to her so opens up a better understanding of a very special person
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Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir (Hardcover - 7 Nov. 2013)
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