The Women of the Cousins' War: The Real White Queen And Her Rivals Paperback – 18 Jul 2013
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About the Author
Philippa Gregory is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognised authority on women's history. Her Cousins' War novels, reaching their dramatic conclusion with The King's Curse, were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen. Philippa's other great interest is the charity that she founded over twenty years ago: Gardens for the Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for over 200 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country. Philippa graduated from the University of Sussex and holds a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 at Edinburgh University. In 2016, she received the Harrogate Festival Award for Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.
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I thought Jones's piece on Margaret Beaufort was the best of the three, a well written and balanced account of the life and career of a remarkable and, by the standards of the time, long lived major figure, dying at the age of 66. From her tragic early experience of being impregnated by Edmund Tudor when she was only 12 and personally negotiating a second marriage when she was still not yet 14, she was an able and astute politician, ambitious for her only son, with whom she had a very close relationship throughout the 24 years of his reign.
Baldwin offers a spirited and to me convincing defence of Elizabeth Woodville from many of the accusations of grasping ambition which are often thrown at her and her family, though in context, they were no worse than others who achieved prominence at this time.
I thought Gregory's piece on Jacquetta was slightly less satisfactory (she has apparently written other history as well as historical novels, though I am not clear what other non-fiction she has written), but it offers a perspective on an important female figure who is less well known than the other two, but who nevertheless played a key role in the highest political circles in the middle part of the century.
An interesting perspective on this crucial period of English history.
This book consists of what are essentially three historical essays. Phililppa Gregory writes about Jaquetta, David Baldwin about Jaquetta's daughter Elizabeth, who was Queen Consort to Edward IV and Michael Jones tackles the life of Margaret Beaufort. Each writer has their own style and I rather like the fact that David Baldwin casts doubt on Philippa Gregory's version of how Elizabeth and Edward actually met. A very interesting book.
I have not read any of Philippa Gregory's fiction but, when I get time, I will do so because I feel sure that the experience will be worthwhile.