Eleanor the Secret Queen: The Woman who put Richard III on the Throne Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Jan 2009
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Fascinating and thorough study. --Publishers Weekly on Royal Marriage Secrets
With its new details and perspectives about Richard s last days and its use of original sources, this book will be an essential read for Ricardians and all interested in studying the Wars of the Roses, here accessible to them without being marred by hundreds of years of interpretations, rumors, and biases. --Library Journal on The Last Days of Richard III and the Fate of His DNA --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Ashdown-Hill is a historian who has been heavily involved in the DNA testing of Richard III s remains. He is the author of "The Last Days of Richard III." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course, with so much information about her having been deliberately destroyed or obscured, there is not enough which can be said about Eleanor Talbot to fill a book on its own. Therefore, the book is replete with biographies of her ancestors and her in-laws, which builds up a context and serves also to fill the space left by the lack of information available on the lady herself.Read more ›
I think by now everyone interested knows that Edward IV was married before his "marriage" to Elizabeth Woodville, but few of us knew enough about the lady he had married secretly, nor did we realise what an important woman his first bride was - in fact, she would have been a better"catch" than Elizabeth, although both women were well connected.Now I am wondering about Edward himself and whether he was legitimate.So different from all his forebears, and possibly not the son of the Duke of York, he would have been insecure enough about his position, without the news of his previous contract with Lady Talbot leaking out.This does clear up the previously mysterious reasons for his killing of his brother of Clarence.I do hope that Mr Ashdown-Hill will soon offer us more of his clear, beautiful English, and his deeply researched work.Of course,as a Ricardian, I am a little biased!
What Eleanor did after Edward abandoned her is interesting too. She made endowments to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and also became associated with the Carmelite order at Norwich, in whose church she was buried. She had moved to Norfolk probably to be near her sister, Elizabeth, the Duchess of Norfolk (whose small daughter, Anne, was married to Richard, younger son of Edward IV).
All-in-all a very interesting read and an important book. Maybe we will never know for sure what really happened, but the author's interpretation of the evidence he has uncovered is fair-handed and faultless.
The book is well produced and the many illustrations are gorgeously reproduced. Unfortunately, virtually none is adequately labelled. The reader is left wondering where they come from. In a few instances, the other question is rather, 'why is this relevant?'
The book's first 2/3 or so describe Eleanor's early life in stultifying detail. We simply do not know sufficient about Eleanor to warrant such excess. And this book would be slim indeed if an editor were to delete each and every paragraph that contains the doubt-inducing words 'possibly,' 'probably,' maybe,' 'likely,' and the many, many, many other permutations of uncertainty.
Of course Eleanor lived in the shadows of her men folk, because all medieval women did. That sociological fact is indisputable and unavoidable. But a skilful writer can always find ways of expressing himself without recourse to teeth-jarring repetition and (to be frank) clotted prose. At the end, the reader has overdosed on `possibly/probably' to the extent that, ultimately, it undermines any confidence in the author's conclusions.
In summary, a book with good content but badly let down in terms of its scholarship and writing style. While Ashdown rightly castigates Charles Rees' biography of Richard III for its occasional lapses in content, he could have learnt a great many lessons in terms of scholarship, style and the art of writing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a book of serious and fascinating research, clearly explained and very well written.
The rights and wrongs concerning Richard III arouse passion these days, and too... Read more
If, like me, you had heard the name of Eleanor Butler in relation to a certain 'pre-contract', but didn't actually know anything much about her, then you will be enlightened and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Liz
John Ashdown-Hill is an excellent writer and historian who produces very readable, well researched books on events surrounding the House of York and Richard III. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Pam
As ever, an extremely well researched book. Fascinating reading.Published 10 months ago by mrs v harris
An excellent and well written history of an overlooked (dismissed) figure in the Plantagenet succession story. Read morePublished 14 months ago by B. Etherington
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