Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
I found it unhelpful
on 3 April 2015
I am a general reader of history and read this book for two reasons ; to try and get a better grip on the Wars of the Roses and the pre-Tudor monarchs in my mind and secondly to try and see the era from the female perspective. This book didn't quite deliver either of these to me although quite a lot of it was interesting and informative.
I have always found the Wars of the Roses a difficult period to get my head around possibly because so many of the main players have the same or similar names. Although some of this book did enlighten me as the what happened when and involving whom I found that the narrative was confusing in that the author started with one woman and followed most of her life and then drifted on to another. I lost the chronology and failed to understand what was happening at the same time and the chronology. Some of this is probably due to lack of really detailed reading by me but I am a general reader of history and usually manage to keep up with books aimed at this market. I think that I would have preferred it if the author had maybe arranged the material differently (although I am not quite sure how).
I had hoped that the book would reveal more about the lives of significant women in this period but that was not the case - although this may have been due to lack of evidence. The book was good at showing how the women's bloodlines and marriages were really important to the politics at the time and also how they could influence events. What didn't come across at all was any evidence of how they lived. I was left with lots of questions - what was life like in sanctuary at the tower ? What was life like for those who took to religion in their latter days ? Would they have been present at major events ? Did they live with their husbands or not ? What was their daily life like ? How much financial freedom did they have ? How far did queens have private lives and how far were they on show ? It may be that this book was never intended to answer those questions but the sub title led me to expect some revelations about women specifically which I didn't get.
This book is really a retelling of the Wars of the Roses and the political machinations by showing how the major women of the time and their bloodlines/families/marriages affected the life and events of the men. It did give me some additional information about that but the style of the book did not assist in untangling my long-standing confusion about the Wars or in my understanding the daily life of important women.