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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 15 November 2013
I was really looking forward to learning more about the Woodvilles but as other reviewers have pointed out - it doesn't shed any new light on the family. I found it difficult to read as it kept jumping around and I sometimes struggled to work out who she was referring to. I feel I wasted my money
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on 27 July 2015
Despite Higginbotham's interesting blog, and after having enjoyed her "Queen of Last Hopes" I found this unreadable. I understand the 21st-century need to make history accessible. However, the cliche-ridden, postmodern idiom intrudes on the reader, occasionally lacks objectivity, and obscures the values of the time. We are, for example, told that Jacquetta was made a Lady of the Garter "probably to put her on the same level as Gloucester's duchess, who also sported Garter robes" (p.10). Regarding Jacquetta's marriage: "a medieval wife's role was primarily to produce children, and Jacquetta excelled at this task" (p.13).

It's a grating prose style; I gave up after a couple of days.
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on 24 November 2013
This is a well written and balanced view of the Woodville family and has clearly involved a lot of detailed research.
What a pity it is therefore that the author didn't bother to put in at least one fairly decent family tree. It really is a must when you are writing about a widespread family with complex relationships and sometimes second Marriages. I was lucky in having Arlene Okerlund's book on Elizabeth Woodville, which has several useful family trees to which I was constantly referring.
What a pity to spoil a good read with an elementary mistake like this.

David Evans
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on 28 June 2014
An excellent book that details not only the history of the Woodville family but also shows how their reputation has been tarnished throughout the years. The author factually supports her reasoning with primary sources, plus clearly shows the "who, when, why and where" aspect of certain negative remarks that have been captured and held onto by historians ever since.
I feel as though this book was very much needed, as the current readers of historical fiction are bombarded by negative and inaccurate portrayals of the Woodville family. In both Philippa Gregory's novels and TV series 'The White Queen' Elizabeth and her mother are shown to be witches that used magic to ensnare the king. The whole notion makes me shake my head in disgust, so it was refreshing to read of Elizabeth without magic being involved.
Obviously Ms. Higginbotham's viewpoint is very different to some of her fellow historians, most notably Paul Murray Kendall, but that is not to say that one is right and the other is wrong. That's not how history works. Historians have their own opinions and personal biases that should be backed up by primary sources. The use of said sources however are often selective and therefore no historian could claim to be unbiased.
Although fundamentally in support of the Woodville family Ms. Higginbotham nonetheless gives a concise and conclusive history of the Woodvilles that I can assure you is landed firmly in reality and not some magical universe of long ago. A refreshing read.
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on 11 November 2013
while this book promises to be an interesting read, it is confusing (and sloppy) to spot discrepencies over dates in the first chapters. apparently, someone can be married in the 16th century despite having died in the 15th. disappointing
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on 1 December 2014
Excellent accounting of the Rivers family. Susan Higginbotham has written a precise and unbiased book about the Elizabeth Woodvilles' large family. She describes each one of them, giving both depth and substance to a family long maligned by their detractors. Stripping away gossip and legends, she is able to paint an authentic picture of a group coping with political dynamics in the fifteenth century. She addresses the family myths, describes the customs, and gives a very good idea of life during this time period. Even social slights and insults are explained to give substances to the political climate at the time. Great book that gives an alternate view of a family often seen as nothing more that interlopers.
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on 13 November 2013
This is a quite a well written book, but as I said in the title, there is not really anything in it that I did not know already, but despite that still worth a read and interesting to see them from a different point of view to how they are normally seen. A complex family who had their fair share of good and tragic times. I would recommend this to novices of the war of the roses period.
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on 30 November 2013
Apparently factually accurate, and certainly very detailed, but this difficult subject with its family tree complications was not made any simpler. There was a jumble of facts rather than an attempt to distil the main issues from the pile of information.
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on 16 May 2014
Terrilby written,no actual narrative content consists of references to quotes throughout from authors and their opinions to events ,so repeated several times for same event ,abandoned reading as most boring book ever attempted not enjoyable.waste of money poor writing
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on 29 April 2014
To get the most from this one needs a fair understanding of the times in which the Woodvilles reached their heights, and a fair grasp of the controversies that have dogged their reputation ever since, but if one has those, then this is a wonderfully precise, yet never dry, account of an interesting family making their way through, and perhaps shaping, interesting times. Unlike a fair few historians of the period, Higginbotham does not pass off any fancies as fact, nor does she rebut any previous ideas without explaining what they were in the first place, so that one can follow the development and demise of the various theories over time. Meticulous and amusing at once, this is a perfect little history.
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