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on 17 March 2017
Interesting reading
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on 20 September 2002
'I enjoyed this book because it is written in an entertaining style and really is about Elizabeth Woodville (i.e. there are no wearisome chapters dealing with the background rather than the person). It portrays her in a completely new light - as a politically aware and able queen rather than a haughty and grasping consort - and there are a number of interesting appendices concerning matters such as 'The Woodvilles and Witchcraft', Elizabeth's alleged 'Diary', and her possible association with the author of the 'Croyland Chronicle'. Highly recommended.'
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on 18 January 2005
This is a well-written and accessible, though somewhat biased, biography of one of the most controversial of English queens. The author takes issue with the traditional view that Elizabeth, being motivated solely by the desire to gain influence and power for the Woodville family, was a corrupting influence on Edward IV and advocated some of his most ill-advised policies. Here she is portrayed as providing wise and moderate counsel to her husband and frequently using her influence to mitigate his harsher decisions. She is seen as an astute and capable politician, who fell victim to the machinations of her trusted brother-in-law and, ultimately, became the victim of centuries of black propaganda. This revisionist history is interesting and the author cites abundant contemporary evidence to support his stance. However, I can't help but feel that the book would have been stronger for being a slightly more balanced portrait. Whilst the justified defence of a much-maligned individual against ill-founded, but generally accepted, allegations can prove enlightening, the author seems to be attempting to prove Elizabeth's innocence against all charges, no matter how indefensible. All in all though, a good read.
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on 17 August 2016
Sadly not enough is known about this woman to merit a long book. It is padded out with complex legal cases in which many people seem to have the same name and it got very confusing. As other reviews have noted quotes from contempory documents are used extensively and this just creates more bogging down. I appreciate that the author did not want to patronise us by "translating" everything but he could have been more selective in using the texts he did quote and have given a bit more help.
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2008
An interesting and convincing account of the life of Elizabeth Woodville, who despite being a much reviled figure of the Wars of the Roses era, does not have a society dedicated to reassessing her life as does Richard III. The alleged rapaciousness of her and her family is simply not supported by the historical evidence. Worth a read, though in places it does rather read like a "life and times" rather than a biography, something the author says in the introduction to the book that he wishes to avoid, but which is more difficult to avoid in the case of most Medieval personages, whose personal lives are very often very or fairly closed books. The only slight downer is the sometimes quite lengthy extracts from contemporary sources which are not translated into more modern English and are quite difficult to read.
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on 1 April 2013
have just finished reading this and i loved it. lots of background history to elizabeth's time but also lots of proper information about elizabeth herself. i really enjoyed it.
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VINE VOICEon 14 February 2008
Elizabeth Wydeville was Queen Consort to King Edward IV., is mostly known as the mother of the Princes in the Tower and she was - through her daughter, another Elizabeth - the " maternal grandmother" of the Tudor dynasty. However, there is much more to her than just being wife, mother or grandmother of. Her general historical reputation is however one of a clever and beautiful woman which is marrying above her station, clever and greedy for herself and her family. Not particuarly a good reputation.

!
Balwin put things into perspective, shows motivation for slandering thsi queen and woamn , shows precedences how important females were treated at the time, sweps certain historical myths away. One starts to understand where Elizabeth Wydeville came from, learns about her background, her interest, her role as Queen and her legacy to her children and grandchildren. This is extremely interesting to read and understand.

However, I feel it is a bit of a whitewash, a bit too unbalanced. But maybe that is necessary because the historical reputation is unbalanced in the other direction.

All in all I did enjoy reading very much this biography. I learned a lot and my views on this Queen Elizabeth has changed.
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on 30 December 2011
I brought this book after I read Philippa Gregory's book "The White Queen". I wanted to learn more about this women who is just about known for been the mother of the princes in the tower. This book is a very good account on her life. I haven't read many books on the War of the Roses, but you don't need to know the ins and outs of it, as this biography, unlike so many, concentrates purely on Elizabeth herself and it gives you a very good overview of her life. I recommend this book to anyone interested in remembering those who are side lined in history!!!
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on 13 November 2013
Having read other Plantagenet and Tudor histories I looked forward to reading this book concentrating as it does on one of the principal characters of the era. However, I was disappointed. Undoubtedly a well researched book of scholarship it proved heavy reading. Long passages quoted verbatim in mediaeval English pepper the text. Why couldn't the author transcribe them into modern English? Why not summarise them? They almost seem to be padding to raise the word count of the book. Having said that, the book does achieve its objective of showing Elizabeth Woodville merely to be a woman and mother of her time, neither better nor worse than her contemporaries.
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on 10 August 2013
If you are interested in this period of English history and want to know more about the Mother of the Princes in the Tower, this is a very good book for you. I hope you will enjoy reading about this politically aware Queen.
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