13 Mar 2014


Read for the 'A position of Royalty' category.


SOURCE: A Christmas gift.

Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen (2009), Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen (2010), and Jacquetta, Lady Rivers, The Rivers Woman (2011) are the subjects of the first three novels in Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series, and of the three biographical essays in this book. Philippa Gregory and two historians, leading experts in their field who helped Philippa to research the novels, tell the extraordinary 'true' stories of the life of these women who until now have been largely forgotten by history, their background and times, highlighting questions which are raised in the fiction and illuminating the novels. With a foreword by Philippa Gregory - in which Philippa writes revealingly about the differences between history and fiction and examines the gaps in the historical record - and beautifully illustrated with rare portraits, The Women of the Cousins' War is an exciting new addition to the Philippa Gregory oeuvre.
..... Amazon product description

FIRST SENTENCE {Jacquetta of Luxembourg 1415/16-1472: Childhood  by Philippa Gregory}: Jacquetta of Luxembourg was born, perhaps in one of her family's chateaux in France, probably in the year 1416.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 253}: Margaret would now marry Edmund Tudor, and it was decided that the marriage would take place after two years, when she was twelve and her husband twenty-four.

MY THOUGHTS: Having read the first four books in Philippa Gregory's The Cousins War series (I have the fifth, The White Princess, on my TBR pile) I was delighted to receive this 'facts behind the fiction' book which takes a look at the 'true' stories of The Duchess (Jacquetta of Luxembourg), The Queen (Elizabeth Woodville) and The King's Mother (Margaret Beaufort)

Beginning with what I felt was a slightly over-long and mundane introduction by Philippa Gregory its over to the perhaps best known of the authors for an essay on Jacquetta (THE LADY OF THE RIVERS) which in my opinion was the weakest (and least readable) of the three studies but then it could be argued that Ms Gregory had the most difficult task in that of the three women covered Jacquetta's story is the one with least sources of information. 

Of more interest to me was the 'paper' by David Baldwin on Elizabeth Woodville (THE WHITE QUEEN) which was followed by an even stronger and more analytical piece on Margaret Beaufort (THE RED QUEEN) by Michael Jones.

Overall, a concise and obviously well researched book with some wonderful illustrations. The Women Of The Cousins' War compliments the Cousins' War series beautifully by filling in some of the gaps. However, having read several books (both fictional and non-fictional) and watched several documentaries about these women (Elizabeth and Margaret in particular, Jacquetta less so) I felt that there was little new to be learnt in the reading of the book.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Sherry Ellis said...

I enjoy reading about historical figures. Thank you for this review.

marinela said...

Enjoyed, thanks for sharing this review.

Kelly said...

What an interesting idea to have a book detailing more of the history about the women in her novels.

Someday I'll get around to reading her books. The only one I remember reading was a stand-alone many years ago (I think).

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book. Wonderful review, as usual! :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I have not read any of her books, but they are certainly on my list. I'll have to remember this one. I like that it fills in gabs on the CW series.

Brian Joseph said...

I think that it is a very neat idea to do have created a book like this.

Interesting that you did not find it informative as you already knew about the subject. I usually find alternate biographies very enlightening even when I know something of the people covered. However, the fact that these authors helped Philippa Gregory with her research may mean lead one to conclude that this was not really an alternate take on things.

Betty Manousos said...

i find it fascinating to read about the women in history. it looks like an engaging and interesting book...a little bit difficult to read though.

big hugs!

So many books, so little time said...

I have two phillipa gregory on my tbr but never read her yet, this sounds interesting, thanks for sharing.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Claudine G. said...

I enjoy historical reads once in a while but this one might be a bit too much for me to handle right now. Thanks for sharing about the book, though!

Naida said...

I am a big Philippa Gregory fan, and sadly I don't make time for her anymore.
This sounds like an interesting way to find out more about the women in her novels.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I like the idea of being able to find out the facts behind the fiction. It sounds like an interesting read, and I guess for those who know less about the cousins it will be even more interesting. :) I always enjoy learning more about this time in history. Thanks for sharing!

Charlie said...

That's fantastic, two positions of royalty and a nobility title to boot! I've got The Red Queen on my shelf, but am yet to read it. I didn't know this book had been written, but I like the idea of writing non-fiction about the people written about in a fictional trilogy. Well done on What's in a Name, Tracy!