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on 29 April 2013
I enjoyed this book - and it will enjoy a position on my book shelves for ever.

It contains many facts, figures, and insights into the turbulent times of the Wars of the Roses, as well as Henry Tudor's victory over Richard III and her subsequent marriage to her uncle's nemesis, paving the way for a more peaceful time for the country, and the start of the Tudor dynasty, and through Elizabeth's daughters, future monarchs too.

The book also, however, looks at the roller coaster of her early years, partly as a princess, partly living in sanctuary, in fear of her life - after seeing her two brothers taken to The Tower, and never being seen again.

Highly recommended for those interested in Mediaeval history, but also those interested in a woman who lived an extraordinary life.
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on 14 September 2013
First of all: a nice and pleasant book to read with lots of beautiful photographs and/or illustrations. Those expecting to learn a lot about Elizabeth's personal life may be disappointed as we know little about that. In an attempt to fill the book anyway, the book focusses on The Wars of the Roses and Elizabeth's place in it. Though she emerges more from the background than in other books about this topic, the book is more or less another book about the Wars of the Roses.

However, the book is definitely not always accurate; mixing up basic historical facts such as a reference to the presence of Edward IV (Then the earl of March) and Warwick in the important battle of Wakefield. Both were most definitely NOT there as it was an enormous Yorkist defeat! These mistakes are very annoying to the reader who already knows a lot of the topic and those who wish to learn more on the Wars of the Roses.
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on 8 July 2013
Elizabeth herself is quiet in the pages of history, her married life in contrast to the upheaval of her childhood and the scandal of her teenage years when rumour had it that her uncle Richard III intended to marry her. Amy Licence explores why this quiet life, which on the surface of it does not exactly make the most exciting history, is in fact a mark of Elizabeth's success as queen, and the success of the new Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth's humility, pious patronage, and generosity made her beloved of the English populace, and provided the solid, stable foundations on which the Tudor dynasty was built - marking themselves in contrast to the turmoil of the civil wars, and exerting a strong appeal through peace and prosperity.

I was surprised by how much page space Licence devotes to Elizabeth's childhood and the wars of the roses, as I'm much more interested in her adult life, namely her relationships with her children, husband, and Tudor in-laws, the influence she exerted as queen, and her support for the Tudor regime. It's easy to forget in hindsight just how much upheaval marked Elizabeth's early life, and how her future was very much uncertain. The look into a year of Elizabeth's life through her household accounts was interesting, and not something I'd read about before - but then I am not a specialist on her life and have not gone looking for sources, I suspect that these household accounts are "nothing new" from the point of view of specialists, it's simply that the generalised reader hasn't really seen them before.

I must admit to wishing for more, in particular I wanted to know about Elizabeth's reaction to Perkin Warbeck, but, frustratingly, her private thoughts on the matter are not recorded. The book is a little short, and I would have liked more, but there's just so little recorded about Elizabeth's life. A good book, though it simply can't tell us all we would wish to know about Elizabeth.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 March 2013
Amy Licence has done it again! Like her previous work, In Bed with the Tudors, it is a compact book, with well chosen illustrations which inform the narrative beautifully. Her subject matter is Elizabeth of York, a woman at the heart of late medieval upheavals as daughter of Edward the Fourth and Elizabeth Woodville, niece of Richard the Third, wife of Henry the Seventh, mother of Henry the Eighth, grandmother of Elizabeth the First - the list goes on and this fascinating life is examined in context and in meticulous detail, showing her as more than just the convenient Yorkist princess married to the victor of Bosworth to unify the kingdom and set the Tudor dynasty in motion. She was, for example, a key participant in the process which brought the teenaged Catherine of Aragon to England to marry her eldest son, the tragic Arthur. She also lived through a wave of pretenders to her husband's throne; one of whom was extremely well supported by Margaret of Burgundy (Elizabeth's paternal aunt) who chose to believe that he was one of her missing nephews, the Princes in the Tower. No-one will tell the story of Elizabeth of York better than this, and she is no longer "forgotten".

Amy Licence is a wonderful writer - her prose just sings off the page with not a word wasted - and a wonderful historian who has enormous empathy with her subject matter. Dare I say it, a worthy successor to David Starkey as our leading interpreter of all things Tudor.

Even if you don't particularly like history, even if you don't particularly like biography, make an exception in this case: read this gorgeous little book and enjoy!!

What next Amy? Can't wait.
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on 8 August 2013
This was a very readable book, but I am not sure it actually said much about Elizabeth. In some chapters it seemed to talk more about people and events around her than her.

I have pre ordered the Alison Weir book on Elizabeth of York, which is due out in November. It will be interesting to see how it compares to this one.
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on 6 September 2013
A well written biography of an important Tudor queen, as she founded both the Tudors and Stuarts, and although there is not a great deal of contemporary literature about her, the author has placed her within a good narrative of the turbulent times of the Cousins' Wars and the establishment of Henry VII's reign. It is a pity that so little is known about her as I think she probably was a very interesting person, given that the populace loved her and she was considered a model for a queen.
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on 20 July 2013
I'be bought all of Amy Licence's books and have found them all to be interesting, engaging and easy to read
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on 11 July 2013
The more I read about these amazing, sometimes little known about women, the more I want to read. I,ve read a lot about Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort so this was an obvious one to go for. I,ve read Anne Neville by Amy Licence and loved that too. Amy writes beautifully and doesn,t try to preach or make things up that history really can,t tell us but still providing a real insight into the lives of her subjects.
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on 16 April 2013
As someone with a particular interest in Richard Third,it was good to get more information about a character also central to that period.
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on 16 June 2013
Yet again, this book says more about the publisher than the author!

Amberley likes to publish biographies on Tudor and Yorkist women. This gives the false impression that women were important. They, on the whole, were not. It also seems it has an agenda to publish biographies on every Yorkist and Tudor woman known regardless of the amount of information there is available. Can biographies on Elizabeth of York, Anne Neville, Bessie Blount, Mary Boleyn or Jane Seymour be justified? I think not.

At best an Amberley book on Tudor or Yorkist history is very readable; probably satisfying historical novel lovers. However, they offer very little in the way of analysis, offering very little new information about the subject, sometimes relying on supposition and guesswork to cover up the lack of information available. Books start and finish with long and irrelevant introductions before the subjects birth and endings after their deaths, and too many irrelevant photographs litter the books all possibly to pad it out.

There is not much information known about Elizabeth of York to justify a book on her, on whatever level. The first three chapters, covering events up to 1483, rarely mention Elizabeth; her birth, her two betrothals and her whereabouts. Chapter 4 covers the most interesting aspect of her life; her relationship with her uncle, Richard III, but unfortunately it does not go into very much depth. The remainder, covering her life as Henry VII's consort proves what women at this time were just not important other than to be a wife and mother.

Don't get me wrong, there are some very good Amberley books on Yorkist and Tudor history out there, but not many. I do look forward to Josephine Wilkinson's new book on Richard III out later this year as her first was superb!
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